The people who have signed contracts to rent the new third-floor apartments above Eli Fish Brewery Co. at 109-111 Main St. did so even before seeing the finish product, according to the building’s co-owner.
Matt Gray, who led a group of government and municipal agency officials on a tour of the apartments this afternoon, said the two two-bedroom and one one-bedroom units were rented about three months ago – well before completion.
“Yes, it was unsolicited,” he said. “We started receiving phone calls and emails down at Eli (Fish) wondering if we had apartments available. We told them that they were under construction and they still wanted to see them. And all three of them ended up being rented in March.”
Gray said the woman who is renting one of the two-bedroom flats in the historic J.J. Newberry building picked up the keys today and will be ready to move in on July 1.
“It really was the first time that she has seen it since drywall started to go up. She was very excited to see how it turned out,” he said, adding that none of the tenants (some are in their 30s and one is retired) are from Batavia.
The two-bedroom apartments are renting for $1,100 per month and the one bedroom is going for $800 per month.
City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., one of the people invited for a sneak peek, called the apartments “absolutely beautiful and I would love to live in an apartment like that as a young person or retired person.”
Jankowski said Gray and co-owner Matthew Boyd are fulfilling city leaders’ mission of creating a vibrant Downtown.
“That’s exactly what I had envisioned when they talked about apartments and people living above businesses and bringing a downtown neighborhood back to our community,” he said. “That’s a perfect place to start.”
Gray, when asked why people are being attracted to living above downtown buildings, said it was a matter of walkability.
“It’s a lifestyle. People that are looking to live Downtown want to be able to walk to entertainment, to dining, to shopping,” he offered. “One of the gentlemen who is moving in is excited because everything that he wants to do is nearby – even walking to the Muckdog game or the farmer’s market. It’s all right here.”
He said the demographics of tenants in the building’s seven apartments (there are four apartments on the second floor) are across the board.
“Whether they’re young or retired even, the desire is there to be social and to walk to where they want to go,” he said.
Construction of the new apartments was aided by a $137,600 grant from the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative, facilitated by the Batavia Development Corp., NY Main Street program, and a grant from the DRI Building Improvement Fund.
Photos at top: Matt Gray, center, conducts a tour of the new third-floor apartments above Eli Fish Brewery Co. on Main Street, Batavia, as, from left, Chris Suozzi, Penny Kennett, Mary Valle and Mark Masse look on; kitchen area of the one-bedroom apartment. Photos below: View onto Main Street of the front apartment; the large kitchen/living room of the two-bedroom unit at the rear of the building. Photos by Mike Pettinella.