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Tower to offer living with expansive views

Construction is nearly complete on the first two floors of residential units at the Metropolitan. A total of six upper floors will contain apartments for lease and the five floors above that will be luxury condominiums for purchase. 

The apartments are designed to vary in size, starting at 600 square feet and ranging as large as 1,500 square feet.

“They get bigger as you go higher in the building,” said Lauren Gallina, marketing director of Gallina Development Corp., which bought the building in 2015. 

Apartments are slated for floors 16 through 21. Designed to be contemporary in style, the feature that may attract people most is outside.

“There is a 360-degree view,” Gallina said. “You can see the lake and straight down the river. It’s really a great view.”

Ten-foot high windows maximize that feature. 

There are one- and two-bedroom units, and some models include two bathrooms. Highlights are quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, including hooded stoves to minimize cooking odors, and islands in the kitchens.

Bedrooms have built-in closets, bathrooms have custom-tiled showers, and there are in-unit laundries. Vinyl plank flooring throughout the units is designed to provide the beauty of hardwood without the maintenance.

The units have different color schemes, including gray, taupe and orange accents, to vary the appearance.

“It’s nice that the apartments have different looks,” Gallina said, “so when you go next door, the neighbor’s apartment doesn’t look the same as yours.”

Amenities for residential tenants include a bike share program, fiberoptic internet and Direct TV, concierge services and round-the-clock security.  There is a fitness center and underground parking connected to the building.

Pricing for units on the first two floors will range from $1,200 to $2,600, said Patrick Dutton of Dutton Properties, the broker for residential units at the Metropolitan.

The apartments will not be ready for leasing before April 1. “We are lightly marketing at this point,” Dutton said.

He has a list of 300 people who have shown interest in the apartments and condos.

“The time to start showing the units is just about now,” he said, noting the progress of construction.

“People can begin to visualize what the apartments will actually look like. Before now we were showing drawings and renderings,” Dutton said.

There are no plans for offering discounts on the apartments, such as employer agreements with some local companies, the way there are with the Tower280 at Midtown units.

“We’re coming on line with 28 units,” Dutton said of the first apartments to be available once construction 

is finished on floors 17 and 18. “It’s not like we have hundreds of units to rent. Plus there is already high demand.”

There are 14 units per floor on floors 17 and 18 with plans for 12 larger units per floor on 19, 20 and 21.

Dutton expects the units to appeal to a wide range of people, including young professionals and empty nesters.

“Families are the one thing we don’t anticipate,” Dutton said. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if we had some.”

He also does not expect to see many students, since the proximity to local colleges is not there.

“But I wouldn’t be surprised if we see interest from grad students,” he added, “because the affordability is good with the different size of the units.”

Dutton said he believes there will be high interest from people relocating from other markets.

“People moving from cities like New York, Chicago and Raleigh look at our city center first,” he said. “They look at our downtown first, because that’s where the action is and it’s what they’re used to.”

Pre-selling of the condo units, which will be located on floors 22 through 26, will not likely begin until 2018. Occupancy is expected by the end of that year, or early 2019, Dutton predicted. The condos will be built with buyer input. Dutton anticipates the demographics of the condo tenants to be somewhat different from those renting apartments.

“A condo makes a lot of sense for anybody that doesn’t want a lot of maintenance like lawn care or snow removal,” he said. “I can see a lot of single, successful women and also young couples with kids.”

Dutton has lived in a condo at the Capron Street lofts downtown with his wife and young child where he saw three other families. The Capron has 20 units.

“There are even single parents who have their kids on weekends and summers,” he said.

Dutton anticipates high interest in the condo units once they are ready to be marketed.

“There are very few condo opportunities downtown,” Dutton said. “These will be luxury units in an excellent location.”

The price of the condo units at the Metropolitan has not been determined yet.

The first offering of downtown condos came in 2006 with the debut of Sagamore on East Avenue. The seven-story mixed-used building includes 23 luxury condo units that quickly sold out for prices of $400,000 to $700,000.

The building’s residential units were originally envisioned as apartment rentals, said Gar Lowenguth, a broker and consultant at ReMax Realty Group in Pittsford.

“The developers were going to have 50 rentals, but then decided condos would be better. The costs of the building were so high it would have been difficult to rent and make money at that time,” Lowenguth said. 

Lowenguth and his wife, Cindy, lived at the Sagamore when it first opened. There has been a sort of evolution in some downtown neighborhoods from rental to ownership, he said.

“The units on the back side of Gibbs Street started as rentals over 20 years ago, and now there are numerous townhomes owned by the occupants,” he said.

“Owner-occupants are typically better than people who lease,” Lowenguth said, “because they are emotionally invested in the property. You get greater stability in neighborhoods.”

It is an organic process, he believes, to develop neighborhoods. At the time of the Sagamore opening, it was a tougher sell to move downtown, especially for high-end rentals.

“Could you rent $1,200 to $1,500 apartments downtown in 2005? I don’t think so,” Lowenguth said.

The desire to live in the center city has grown, which helps the market significantly, he added.

“Ten, 15 years ago you couldn’t get people to go past Oxford Street. But now it’s cool to be downtown,” Lowenguth said.

The definition of downtown has evolved, too, he explained, noting how the removal of the inner loop has allowed the center city to expand.

“The lines are blurring now. It’s like being in Manhattan where you have the Upper West Side and other different neighborhoods. Each is defined by its own style and price,” he said.

Lowenguth has been selling real estate for decades, and he sees more growth in the downtown residential market. 

“Tower280 (at Midtown) is all apartments, there’s 300 Alexander (St.) with apartments, and I see more buildings going somewhat residential,” he said. 

Lowenguth said 25- to 35-year-olds and those 55-and-up are dominating demand. He sees this as a great time for the Metropolitan.

Dutton agrees and is looking forward to the opportunity to begin leasing and selling in the center city’s newest high-rise people can call home.

“This is the highest residential opportunity in our city,” Dutton said. “I know people are going to love living here.”


2/24/2017 (c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.




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