Renovation coming to troubled 19th Ward properties

March 27, 2019 11:12 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- A lot of you might remember seeing disturbing images of an apartment building at 447 Thurston Road.

The building racked up dozens of code violations for collapsed ceilings, peeling paint, security concerns and more. Now, tenants are getting some relief.

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Rochester development company Home Leasing is completely gutting and renovating the Thurston Road property and 967 Chili Avenue. 

Marianne Caleo has lived at the Thurston Road property for more than 20 years. In that time, she says it has taken a turn for the worst. 

"I think this is really good for us because this place has turned into a dump," Caleo said.

Caleo and other tenants like Mary Brown began protesting the conditions last year after their previous landlord Peter Hungerford refused to fix ongoing issues at the apartment.

Hungerford eventually sold the property to another management company, but now that Home Leasing has taken over, Brown says she's looking forward to improvements.

"It's about time," Brown said. "We've been living in some serious conditions you know, health concerns, security concerns, all the above."

Megan Houppert, development manager, says state grants, local funding and city support will help pay for the $11 million needed for the job so that rent won't increase for any tenants.

"When they return to the apartments after the renovations are done, they will return not experiencing an increase in housing costs," Houppert said.

Caleo says this is a relief.

"I live on a fixed income and it's really good that it's not going to be increased," Caleo said.

Tenants are getting a new roof, windows, bathrooms, kitchens and more. The property will also have a full laundry room and an on-site leasing office. Tenants will have to move out for at least eight months while the project is completed but Home Leasing says they are providing temporary housing and resources to help tenants move.

Brown says the move is worth it.

"When we come back, we're coming back to something brand new, so I don't mind," Brown said.

The property has a long history of debilitating conditions. Houppert acknowledges this is no easy task, but she hopes this project enhances the 19th Ward.

"We hope that we'll kind of encourage other property owners to kind of raise the bar a little bit and spur future development in the 19th Ward," Houppert said. 

Tenants will start moving out as early as next week.

Home Leasing has a relocation coordinator to help tenants sort out where they will be moving while the project is completed. The renovations are expected to begin in May.


Kaci Jones

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