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Developers plan 41 high-end units on East Ave. site

A townhouse community for empty-nesters is slated for a 7.5-acre vacant parcel on East Avenue in the town of Pittsford.

The site, near Oak Hill Country Club, at one time had been targeted for a high-rise senior living facility.

A group of developers consisting of former executives at LeCesse Construction Co. Inc. has joined with the property’s owners to develop 10 buildings with 41 units of one or two stories.

Priced at $375,000 to $550,000, homes at Kilbourn Place will range in square footage from 1,600 to 2,700.

The development, planned for construction next summer, is in the market testing phase, with permission from the state attorney general. Signs promoting the project went up at the site last week.

"If we decide the market strength is there, and we are getting quite a bit of interest at this point, then we would submit a more detailed set of documents to the state attorney general that would govern the whole homeowners association," developer David Luxenberg said. "It’s really that second phase that’s required before you can actually sell or take deposits for any of the units."

Luxenberg’s partners include former LeCesse partners Gary Henehan, Francis Antonelli and Sal LeCesse, who spent years evaluating possible uses for the property, he said.

The block of land at 3500 East Ave. was approved 10 years ago for a higher-density residential development proposed by Marriott International Inc. The hotel company later backed out of the project and in 2003 sold off its senior living business.

Luxenberg explained that Marriott never owned the property but had a contract on it with the owners, the Clifford family, now part of Kilbourn’s development group.

With plans for more than 100 units, Marriott had approval for a graduated-care health facility, Pittsford Supervisor William Carpenter said.

"We’ve had a number of proposals over the years, including a high-rise apartment building, … so this has been a parcel sitting there, wanting the right development, and I think we’ve found it," Carpenter said.

Kilbourn Place Associates LLP got preliminary land use approvals in August 2008 and a year later obtained an incentive-zoning amendment for the project.

The zoning approved for Marriott had to be modified to fit Kilbourn Place, Carpenter explained.

When Kilbourn Place originally was presented to the Town Board, the plan called for 49 units. For reasons of height and density, Deputy Supervisor Sandra Zutes voted against it. However, the amendment to the zoning passed.

"The planning process has now come into play, and the concerns I stated have been mitigated," Zutes said of the project now. "I believe there are seven to nine fewer units, and setback and height have been resolved-for me-for a much more acceptable development," she said.

Carpenter said the Marriott project called for one large building; Kilbourn Place developers sought instead to build single-family-style townhouses.

With a mature homeowner in mind, two-story units will have first-floor master bedrooms and provisions for personal elevators, Luxenberg said. Nineteen of the 41 units will be traditional two-story townhouses; 21 will be single-level units.

The development will consist of three types of architecture: manor, townhouse and carriage house, with buildings containing eight, four or two units.

"We were very careful that the architecture of the site as seen from East Avenue would really give you the feeling of the larger East Avenue homes, so what you see would be a manor home feel," Luxenberg said.

The target market, Luxenberg said, is people who already live in the area.

"We feel there are a lot of people who would like to maintain their friendships and their neighborhood connections but may be in a larger home that they’re not happy about having to take care of all the time," he said. "They worry about leaving (it) when they decide to travel. That’s really a part of our market focus."

Luxenberg said his team understands the target market because the members are part of it. As retirees from LeCesse, the developers share the demographic profile of the buyers they hope to attract.

The developers have no plans for further projects similar to Kilbourn Place, he said.

"This is our home. We really wanted a special design for a special site. Each site really creates its own set of special conditions," Luxenberg said. "I’m not certain that this is a replicable kind of development. Not every site would give you the same set of design criteria to work with. So for us, for this particular location, this is a special product."

11/20/09 (c) 2009 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.

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