SCHENECTADY -- Construction of six townhouse-style homes that are part of the $3.5 million Barrett Street housing project has begun.
John Roth, CEO of Plank Construction Services, a partner in the project, said work began on the foundation system two weeks ago, after building permits were secured from the city.
Roth said work to waterproof the exterior of the basement is next, before crews will move on to back-filling to bring the ground up around the basement.
“We want to get to the point where we can get everything backfilled, compacted and graded off in order to allow us to start framing the homes,” Roth said.
The housing project, known as Live-In Schenectady, has been in the works since 2016, when the parcels on which the homes are being built were seized by the city for unpaid taxes. They were then purchased by the investment group that is funding the construction project.
Many of the homes that were seized were either fire-damaged or had been demolished.
There is a group of 16 investors involved in the project. They include HB Housing Group, Friend of the Community, Galesi Management Group, Civco Live In Schenectady, NBT, Neil and Jane Golub, DRL Schenectady Housing, Re4orm Architecture, Precision Industrial Maintenance, Schenectady Hardware & Electric, Jackson Demolition, Capital Region Gaming, Northeastern Fine Jewelry and LeChase Construction.
Union College has made a monetary donation but is not an investor in the project.
The Daily Gazette Co. is also an investor in the project.
There are also five banks involved in financing the project, including Capital Bank, NBT, Ballston Spa National Bank, Pioneer Bank and Kinderhook Bank.
Mary D’Alessandro-Gilmore and Joseph Farry, of Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices-Blake Realtors, will be marketing the properties together.
“We’re almost there in terms of marketing the properties,” D’Alessandro-Gilmore said.
Developers previously said the project would be completed in phases. The first phase will include the construction of 15 townhouse-style homes. The second phase will include 10 residences built on the opposite side of Barrett Street.
Roth said the homes are still on track to have a sale price in the $200,000 price range. But he said those prices could change if any buyers request upgrades.
D’Alessandro-Gilmore previously said there had already been inquiries from interested buyers.
Roth said that, as each home is sold, the plan is to begin building another one of the 15 homes.
“As we progressively sell the units, we’ll begin building additional units for them to be sold,” Roth said.
Each aspect of the construction project is being put out for separate bids, according to Roth.
The contract for the foundation work was awarded to Roth’s company, Plank Construction Services, and the waterproofing contract was awarded to DeBrino Caulking Associates.
Bids have already come in for the framing work, according to Roth.
The project was delayed after ground was broken in July 2017. Developers said the work was intentionally delayed so they wouldn't be pouring concrete during the winter, when construction costs would have been higher.
Roth said no further delays are expected and work on the homes will continue into next year. The plan is to have the first six homes up for sale during the first quarter of 2019.
“We’re not going to stop the progress,” Roth said.
There is excitement among the developers, now that work has begun on the project, Roth said. The group is particularly excited to be contributing to the revitalization of the city, he said.
“We want to be a part of the resurgence of homeowners moving back into the city,” Roth said.
He also said the group doesn’t plan to stop with the Barrett Street project. He said they will look at other areas of the city to do similar projects, though there has not been another location identified, Roth said.
“We hope this project is a catalyst that helps us develop other opportunities in the city to build additional homes and possibly renovating some homes,” Roth said. “This is our first one. We’re hoping to take this model and continue it.”