CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story contained the incorrect price for the townhouses. They start at $260,900.
SCHENECTADY — The first homes built as part of a new housing development in the city's Little Italy section are now on the market.
Six townhouses have been completed on Barrett Street as part of the Live-In Schenectady project, a coalition of five banks and 16 investors who provided financing.
The target demographic for the two-story townhouses, which start at $260,900, are young couples and empty-nesters, according to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices-Blake Realtors, which is marketing the properties.
Fifteen units will ultimately be constructed as part of the first phase of development, which has been formally dubbed Barrett Village.
“It’s a new era of residential housing in Schenectady,” said Joseph R. Farry, senior vice president at Berkshire Hathaway.
Total project costs to date are $2.2 million, with completion of the first phase estimated to cost $1.8 million, according to John Roth, an investor and president of Highbridge Development.
No public funding was utilized, and The Daily Gazette Co. is among the investors.
Ten additional units are planned for a second phase located across Barrett Street, but Roth said it’s too early to provide cost estimates.
The timeworn stretch of Barrett Street has watched as development has swirled from all sides in recent years, from rehabilitation of blighted structures on Seward Street, development of Mohawk River and Rivers Casino & Resort to the proposed connector project linking Little Italy to the complex as part of the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), which awarded $10 million to the city last month.
The project site once contained properties and structures seized over the years by the city for non-payment of taxes, and once boasted several Italian restaurants, including the landmark Luigi's, which closed in 2007 and was burned down by a teenage arsonist in 2012.
David Buicko, CEO of Galesi Group, which is among the investors, said the Live-In Schenectady project and DRI almost follow a similar strategy when it comes to connecting neighborhoods.
“If we create momentum and connectivity and tie downtown to the neighborhoods, and vice versa, hopefully the rest will fill in on the investment side,” Buicko said.
The immediate surroundings of the Barrett Street site are a mix of broken pavement, empty lots and older homes.
Ideally, Barrett Village also will generate further investment and give landlords and property owners an incentive to spruce up their properties, Buicko said.
“We’re hopeful that section of Barrett Street will be upgraded similar to what Union College did at Seward Place,” Buicko said.
“We don’t care about making money,” Roth said. “All we care about is building, selling at cost, taking the proceeds and rolling them into another one.”
The project's investors are 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, The Daily Gazette, Capital Region Gaming, Northeastern Fine Jewelry, LeChase Construction, Jay Curtis, president of Curtis Lumber, and Steven and Marie Taszycki, co-founders of Competitive Advantage Group.
The banks supporting the effort are NBT, Capital Bank, Ballston Spa National Bank, Pioneer Bank, Kinderhook Bank, Saratoga National Bank and Berkshire Bank.
Union College is also supporting the venture, but as a donor rather than an investor. The development sits near the college's western border.
The new homes will be part of a housing association, which as part of its bylaws will prohibit owners from renting the homes out, a mechanism designed to ensure the townhouses remain owner-occupied and its residents invested in the neighborhood.
“This is a great show of confidence by private investors in our neighborhood revitalization efforts,” said Mayor Gary McCarthy in a released statement. “When you have leading private-sector individuals and companies jumping in to buy and redevelop property in Schenectady, you know that our neighborhood revitalization efforts are headed in the right direction.”