Moving from the fast lane to market-priced housing, businessman Sam Savarino now believes that Batavia — more specifically Ellicott Station — is more about affordability.
“It’s hard for people to afford housing, and then there’s a shortage of affordable, quality housing,” Savarino told The Batavian after Ellicott Station’s groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday. “In any event, the market research showed that there was a high-end market that people could afford to pay for in this area, otherwise it wouldn’t be a hit.”
Savarino, of Savarino Companies, was joined by Batavia City and Genesee County leaders to lay some dirt as a symbolic gesture for the start-up phase of a 3.31-acre mixed-use redevelopment project. of vacant and abandoned brownfields downtown.
The demolition, demolition of two dilapidated buildings, land remediation, reconstruction of public stormwater drainage infrastructure, and construction of a 55-unit apartment building are nearing completion in the summer of 2023. The site must also offer adaptive reuse of the building for use as a brasserie, restaurant and/or event venue, as well as improvements to a public “Rails to Trails” walking path.
The total project cost is $20.7 million for 74,000 gross square feet, four stories, 55 units, 52 units with balconies, nine units meeting Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, 37 parking spaces in a garage and 44 surface parking spaces, a built-in laundry room, an elevator, community room, bike storage and an ADA gated play area.
Another part is priced at $4.2 million and includes 11,285 square feet, including 5,000 for a landscaped beer garden, 25 dedicated surface parking spaces and rear access with loading dock and storage areas .
Savarino wants to build homes for people who can and will use them. And the state will help “fill the gap” by providing housing tax credits and funding such housing projects, he said.
“So in return, they’re going to expect you to make sure those rents are — stay — at that affordable rate if you’re not taking advantage of what they’re offering,” he said.
Otherwise defined as “workforce housing,” with one- and two-bedroom units, the Ellicott Street complex will most likely attract people earning around $20 an hour or less, it said. he declares. Ellicott Station should be affordable to them, he said.
“The idea being that no one should expect to pay more than a third of their income for an occupation that includes rent or a mortgage and its utilities,” he said. Part of the idea was that if you’re creating jobs here, you want to have safe, modern, quality housing for those workers that they can afford.
The project is part of the Batavia Downtown Revitalization Initiative and is located in a state-designated Brownfields Opportunity Area, which requires reductions and remediation from past use of materials toxins on the property.
Top photo: Local government leaders literally turn out to celebrate the grand opening of Ellicott Station with project owner Sam Savarino shown in the second photo; and Genesee County Economic Development Center Executive Director Steve Hyde and, above, Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski say a few words in praise of the development. Photos by Howard Owens. Renderings courtesy of Savarino Construction.