Housing project to demo more city homes

Structurally unsound

OBSERVER Photo by Mary Heyl These three vacant homes on Maple Avenue were recently evaluated by STEL contractors as “structurally unsound and uninhabitable” and are part of STEL’s new site plans that involve demolishing them and building a new tri-plex unit.

Southern Tier Environments for Living recently experienced an unexpected change of plans to their $16 million housing project, which is creating 49 new units in the city. Resetarits Construction, Inc., general contractor for the project, completed all of the required abatement and discovered that several structures that STEL initially intended to rehab are actually too far gone to save. Deemed “structurally unsound and uninhabitable,” these structures are slated for demolition under STEL’s new site plans, which they brought before the city planning board at a recent meeting.

Edward “EJ” Hayes, deputy director of planning and development, explained, “STEL needed to come before the board because the buildings they were going to renovate were beyond repair. They needed to show new site plans to the planning board for approval in order to move ahead with a demo.”

STEL’s new site plans include the demolition of 515, 715 and 721 Main St.; 114, 115, 116, 117 and 118 Maple Ave.; and 621 Grant Ave. Many of these project sites will be combined to form new du-plex, tri-plex and even four-plex units that will comply with current zoning and parking requirements.

Knowing the history of the structures proposed for demolition, Hayes said he wasn’t too surprised to hear that they were beyond repair. “The new site plans were all approved to move forward,” Hayes said of the planning board’s decision. “The mayor and the planning board have been very supportive of the project since the beginning. STEL was very professional and well-prepared at the meeting, and the planning board was impressed with their new site plans.”

According to Hayes, STEL has maintained strong communication with the city since work on the project began. “At the meeting, they brought in samples of the siding and stonework they’re going to do. These buildings are going to be very impressive. This project is really going to be bringing these neighborhoods back to life, and the hope is that that continues to spark more positive change in the city,” Hayes stated.