The work at 1255 University Ave. is being done by Park Grove Realty LLC, a Rochester-based real estate management and development firm.
The company started in September 2015 and is led by Andrew Crossed, managing partner, and Andrew Bodewes, partner, both of whom worked at Conifer Realty LLC before deciding to start their own firm.
The project is to include 39,000 square feet of office and retail space and create 17 loft-style apartments and indoor parking. The original structure, built in 1918, was expanded in the 1930s and 1940s to the current 105,000 square feet.
“This has been a tremendously underutilized building for some time,” Crossed said, noting the location is ideal in an area of the city where people live, work, shop and dine out.
The Park Grove partners thought it would be better utilized as a mixed-use structure, hence the lofts.
The market rate residential units will consist of one- and two-bedroom units, ranging from 1,100 to 2,400 square feet and rents of $1,300 to $2,250.
The apartments feature high ceilings, exposed beams and industrial windows; some have balconies. A two-story vestibule, with exposed light, is being constructed as an entrance to the residential portion of the building.
The units will be ready for occupancy next spring or early summer, and interest in them has begun, Crossed said.
Parking also was a challenge since the building takes up most of the property, making additional outdoor parking difficult, Bodewes said.
In response, Park Grove added two covered parking lots on the site. One, on the lower level of the building, is for residential use and has an elevator for the tenants. The other is for commercial business.
The County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency approved a property tax abatement in November totaling $1.8 million for the project.
The project is expected to have $961,000 in benefits for the state and region, COMIDA documents show.
Park Grove is also able to access historic tax credits and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority incentives. Financing is being provided by Tompkins Bank of Castile.
DiMarco Constructors LLC is serving as construction manager, and the architect is Passero Associates DPC.
The building is 20 percent occupied, Crossed said, noting there are some new signed leases and additional interest in the remaining 10,000 square feet.
Mark Murphy, president of telecommunications firm Greenlight Networks LLC, moved his business to the site from East Rochester in the spring.
Greenlight was outgrowing its former location, and the new space fit the firm’s brand and gave it room to expand, Murphy said. He also liked the character of the building and had previously worked with Crossed and Bodewes.
Murphy also worked with DiMarco and Smith+Associates Architects PLLC to customize Greenlight’s space.
Also slated to move to the building this spring is Living Roots Wine, an urban winery owned by Sebastian Hardy, a sixth-generation winemaker from Australia, and Colleen Hurley.
The winery plans to make and bottle its own brand on the premises using Finger Lakes wine. There also will be a retail and tasting area.
In addition to the University Avenue project, Park Grove recently completed the development of a self-storage facility in Henrietta, called Erie Station Storage, near East River Road. The site consists of 450 storage units in several buildings on the five-acre site.
It is also working on a project in Ithaca, Tompkins County, redeveloping a 64-unit apartment community. Park Grove is completing some $1.5 million of improvements at the residential site, Bodewes said.
The business will continue to expand its offerings, predominantly in Western New York and the Southern Tier, the partners said.
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