What was originally designed to be a for-sale townhome development within Pittsford’s posh East Avenue neighborhood has instead become an amenity-rich, upscale, for-rent community that appeals to everyone from Gen-Z to empty-nesters.
Kilbourn Place on East, the latest multifamily creation by Riedman, provides high-end residential space for the growing sector of the population that prefers to rent rather than own.
And while designing a for-rent community of 96 apartments, eight townhomes and six carriage houses wasn’t how initial plans were drawn up in 2013, the just-christened finished product has been extremely well received.
“We’re renting about 10 a month and we’re 70 percent leased,” Riedman president David Riedman said.
With month rent ranging between $2,344 and $3,720, the luxury units at Kilbourn Place on East are exquisitely designed.
“Everywhere you look, one thing’s better than the next,” said Mary Vogler, senior marketing manager at Riedman.
But the features extend well beyond the living space of each unit. There’s a fire pit, a lounge, an exercise room and a self-service pet spa, plus a variety of community spaces, large and small, for residents to gather at the fireplace or just sit and chat by the elevators.
“That’s very purposeful on our part,” Riedman said, “something we concentrate on in any development we do, because we really want to encourage community, and provide opportunities for people that live in our communities to establish friendships and expand their social lives.”
The allure for Gen X and Baby Boomers was expected. But there’s actually a far wider audience appeal.
“What has been a bit surprising to me is the number of young people (25 to 35) who have also found Kilbourn an attractive place to live,” Riedman said. ‘It really has a mix of demographics living there.
“It’s for the renter-by-choice, empty-nesters, people who want to get away from the burdens of home ownership. It’s the type of housing that accommodates a lock-and-go lifestyle.”
The Riedman company had been developing both single-family houses and multifamily communities. But earlier this year the firm opted to stop building houses and focus on multifamily.
“Multifamily was the lion’s share of what we did, and now is all we do,” Riedman said. “Homebuilding for us just became very, very difficult, from a regulatory perspective, from a labor perspective, from an entitlement perspective, from lot availability. It no longer worked in the context of our overall organization.”
The concentration on multifamily also fits well with the trend in housing.
“You read nationally about buying vs. renting and how popular renting has become, and I think that’s just a lifestyle choice people are making,” Riedman said. “There is a significant part of the population that simply prefers to rent.
“If something changes in their life, in their career, where they’ve got to change their housing, they don’t renew a lease as opposed to having to sell a house.”
Kilbourn Place was built on what had been fallow land and also where the Maplewood Inn once stood. The original plans back in 2013 called for the construction of a 41-town-home development on just the vacant, undeveloped property east of the Maplewood.
But preferences changed after the housing crisis and Great Recession and demand for the product Riedman had been creating was low.
“[The development] was not received well by the market — people were not buying it,” Riedman said. “We sold a couple of units, which we ultimately bought back as we did the pivot into rental.”
Once they received zoning variances, the new plan called for purchase of the Maplewood parcel and creation of the 110-unit Kilbourn Place on East. Market analysis and internal analytics led to the mix of 96 apartments, eight townhomes and six carriage houses.
“Markets change, housing preferences change from what we went through as a country,” Riedman said of why this development is a success. “It became very expensive and I think people were just looking for a more flexible arrangement that the current model provides.”
Riedman was very aware of where it would be building. They created a development — with the expertise of Hanlon Architects and Costich Engineering, Land Surveying & Landscape Architecture D.P.C. — that fits very well with the neighborhood.
“We paid an awful lot of attention to the architectural history of East Avenue,” Riedman said. “Originally the project received a lot of opposition during the entitlement process and now it’s praised from every corner, from the broader community and from the immediate neighborhood.
“I think that praise is a result of how hard we worked to make sure that the design and the architecture fit into the fabric of East Avenue. Although it is a large project, it has been done carefully and as you drive East Avenue, you don’t feel that (largeness).”
Riedman also preserved what is known as the Wright House, incorporating the building into the development as a guest house and community space.
“We worked very collaboratively with the town of Pittsford to balance our interests with community interests,” Riedman said. “One of the things the town of Pittsford wanted us to do was preserve that Wright House, so it was remodeled and preserved and turned into amenity space.
“The Wright House is unique within that community and I think we came up with a very elegant solution. It provides some guest housing for people that are coming in from out of town to visit people that reside in Kilbourn, and the first floor can be used as amenity space by anyone who lives there.”
Including Kilbourn Place, the Riedman portfolio includes around 4,000 apartments in the immediate Rochester area as well as in Canandaigua, Geneseo, Hornell, Elmira, Corning, Grand Island, Orchard Park and Erie, Pa. Many of the amenities of Kilbourn Place are planned for a proposed project in Ithaca, Riedman said.
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