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Hunt Real Estate

January 16, 2023 - 8:10am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Hunt Real Estate, batavia, downtown.

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Things are looking up again in downtown Batavia.

A request to revise the current commercial zoning district at 97 Main St. and convert the second and third floors to residential use with the construction of four apartments is up for review during the city’s Planning and Development Committee meeting this week.

It’s set for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Board Room of City Hall.

Applicant David Rowley of VJ Gautieri Constructors has applied for a special use permit on behalf of property owner Peter Hunt.

Hunt purchased 97 Main St. in January of 2022 and listed apartments as a future goal for the property after getting lower floor renovations completed at the site at the corner of Main and Jackson streets. At the time, he said the new space will have room — an estimated couple of thousand square feet on each of three floors — for growth of personnel and offices, and an apartment on each of the second and third floors. He cited the "high ceilings and beautiful windows" that would make the property a great work and living space.

According to related agenda materials, he has requested to build two apartments on each of the second and third floors.

The meeting agenda includes a review of the application, a public hearing and discussion about the request, and action by the board. The property is currently zoned C-3, which is for commercial use, and the request is to rezone it for R-2, residential use.

There are other properties downtown that have been converted in a similar fashion, with first floors used for retail and commerce purposes and upper floors as office and residential space.

Supplemental materials for the request state that:

  • One each waste and recycling totes would be provided per apartment in the alley behind the building;
  • Off-street parking would be available adjacent to the intersection of Jackson and Ellicott streets in an area designated for overnight parking;
  • A dumbwaiter on the south side of the building in the alley could be used for hauling up groceries and other heavy objects; and
  • An entrance on Jackson Street is being updated for security.

An estimated cost of work has yet to be determined.

The second item on the agenda is a request from Brad Trzecieski, owner of 327 Ellicott St., Batavia, to make exterior alterations to his mixed-use building located within the central commercial district of the Business Improvement District on the south side of downtown.

File photo of when Hunt Real Estate celebrated its new Batavia home at 97 Main St., by Howard Owens.

September 7, 2022 - 7:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Hunt Real Estate, news, Business, downtown, batavia.

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Genesee County is growing and Peter F. Hunt, CEO of Hunt Real Estate, wants his company to capitalize on that growth.

"We began some investigation in the marketplace and realized that it's a good place to be," Hunt told The Batavian following a ribbon cutting for his firm's new office at Main and Jackson in the heart of Batavia. "I was quite impressed with the local chamber, the industrial development agency, people who really have a great interest in seeing this become a better, a much better town."

Hunt purchased the former Genesee Bank Building (in recent years it has been a financial firm's office and a couple of different locally owned retail stores) and invested in a complete remodel of the interior to make it suitable for Hunt agents to have office space and meeting rooms.

"We were lucky that it was available," Hunt said. "When we found out it was available, it was, unfortunately, a long series of negotiations. We could have made it faster but we had too many people involved. Finally, when I just said, what's going on? And they said, Well, we're kind of stalled. I called Michelle (Schlossel) and I said, 'let's close it today.' I hadn't been inside and when I got inside, I realized we were going to do a lot of work in this place. But I think we made the right investment. I think it's a great location. It's a beautiful building. Great bones. And we want to make it really something special."

Previously: Real estate company to move into historic downtown Batavia property

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March 9, 2022 - 10:16am

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The transformation of the Save-A-Lot grocery store building at 45-47 Liberty St. took another significant step forward on Tuesday when the executive director of the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc., signed a long-term lease for 7,630 square feet of commercial office space on the ground floor.

“We’ve outgrown our space at our current location (in the former Kozak plant on South Lyon Street), so it seemed like a good opportunity to start looking around,” said Gretchen Gonzalez, an attorney who directs the Buffalo-based program. “We were looking at some other spots, but it's very difficult to find the size that we needed in Batavia. So, finding this space with Victor (Gautieri) was great and to be able to break it up to what we need.”

Gonzalez and Gautieri, president of VJ Gautieri Constructors, building owner and developer, agreed to terms and signed the contract yesterday afternoon at the VJ Gautieri office on Liberty Street.

Gavin McKeirnan Townsend, licensed real estate salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA on Jackson Street, also attended.

“Obviously, piggybacking on the beautiful apartments upstairs and knowing that we had about 16,000 square feet available of commercial space downstairs, we definitely wanted to leverage that and keep the momentum going,” said Townsend, who brought the two parties together. “It’s great to have prime commercial space here in the city of Batavia with sort of the resurgence of everything that's happening in downtown.”

Last fall, VJ Gautieri completed a $3.1 million project supported by $1.15 million in New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding that resulted in the City View Residences -- 10 upscale apartments on the second floor of the building -- along with first-floor storefronts and building-wide façade improvements.

With VLP’s signing, VJ Gautieri now has about 8,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor available for leasing.

Gautieri said offices of the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, known as VLP, will be located in the southwest portion of the building.

“They’re not taking the storefront. They’ll be able to walk out there – we’re going to create a new entry for them – and look almost directly at Batavia Tailors,” he said. “We will be doing the lease build-out – creating the space and dividing it to set up their offices.”

He noted that DEAN Architects of Depew, the firm that designed City View Residences, has been hired to configure the space for VLP’s 23 offices.

“We did an in-house version of a few things just to get the ball rolling, but the architect is going to play off of that and say, ‘Okay, here's what you need,’” Gautieri said. “He's going to also meld all the code requirements in to make sure everything is good. We have to construct the restrooms, entry lobby, reception area and then all the individual offices for the folks who will be working there.”

Gonzalez talked about VLP’s mission and the importance of a presence in Batavia.

“Our initial office is in Buffalo, and we've had a secondary office in Batavia for a number of years,” she said. “We started off with renting space for one office for one attorney – a paralegal that was out here all of the time – and then in 2016, we leased more space there and we now we have around 15 attorneys and five paralegals and two social workers.”

She said VLP is a “hybrid legal services organization” that has attorneys on staff plus a bank of nearly 500 lawyers in private practice that volunteer their time and provide expertise at no cost to clients.

“VLP is the largest provider of indigent immigration services outside of New York City in the State of New York,” she said. “Our Batavia office houses part of our immigration program. It's funded by a grant from the New York State Office of New Americans to provide a public defender-style representative representation to anyone who's detained (and facing deportation) at the federal detention facility (in Batavia).”

While the immigration piece is key to work in Batavia, it’s just a part of what VLP does, Gonzalez noted.

“I always like to say that we do anything under the sun except for criminal law. Because in Buffalo, we have housing attorneys, we have family law attorneys, we do divorces, end of life planning, wills, power of attorney, healthcare proxy,” she said.

“We have a low income taxpayer program that helps people who have cases and controversy with the IRS. We have a program that's specifically designed to serve people who are HIV positive. And we have another portion of our immigration program in Buffalo that provides services to people who are not detained and mostly provide services to victims of human trafficking and domestic violence and other sorts of crimes.”

Gonzalez, who has been with VLP for 10 years, said about 20 full-time employees will be working out of the new Batavia office, and will be supported by attorneys at other locations who volunteer their time.

Gautieri said he is keeping another 1,000 square feet in reserve just in case VLP needs to expand in the future. He said the anticipated move-in date for VLP is Aug. 1.

CLICK HERE for more information about the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc.

Photo at top: Gretchen Gonzalez, center, signs a contract to lease more than 7,500 square feet of office space at 45-47 Ellicott St., site of Save-A-Lot and the City View Residences, as Victor Gautieri, president of VJ Constructors, and Gavin McKeirnan Townsend of HUNT Real Estate ERA, look on. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: Ribbon cutting marks completion of City View Residences revitalization project in downtown Batavia

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