By ANDREA DECKERT
Development has begun on a $180 million residential community in Brighton that includes single-family homes, condominium lofts and amenities ranging from outdoor entertainment space to spa services and a wine cellar.
The Reserve on the Erie Canal is a 327-home project being built on 63 acres by Anthony J. Costello & Son Development LLC, a Rochester-based real estate development company.
The project has been a vision of Costello's for nearly eight years. A groundbreaking on the project was scheduled for this week.
Costello has owned the land for nearly 14 years and envisioned a residential community that would be "an oasis close to everything" for people living there.
"It provides a suburban feel in an urban area," Costello said, noting that the property is close to places such as the University of Rochester, downtown and the Greater Rochester International Airport. "This is not just another real estate development; it's a lifestyle."
The Reserve is on the east side of South Clinton Avenue with the canal on the south and I-590 on the north.
It will feature six neighborhoods, with home prices in the high $200,000 range and higher. The neighborhoods include Watermark Point East and West, Waterford, Fort Plain, Brewerton and Glenville, most named after places on the Erie Canal.
The types of homes to be built include loft condominiums with underground parking, townhomes, patio homes, traditional brownstones and custom-built estate homes. The Watermark-a grand home designed to look like an East Avenue mansion-will have six three-story condominiums.
In total, the plan calls for building 66 single-family residences, 75 townhomes and 186 loft condominiums.
The development will be anchored by a 12,000-square-foot clubhouse. It will include amenities such as a 28-seat movie theater, a 120-seat private dining room, a caterer's kitchen, the Harvard Room with overstuffed leather chairs, individual wine lockers, a fitness center staffed by a trainer and an outdoor swimming pool.
With little advertising other than its website, the Reserve on the Erie Canal is generating interest. Costello's office has received almost 350 inquiries from people in this area and elsewhere, including Georgia, Minnesota, Nevada and Italy.
Costello agents will handle the sales.
To create the project, Costello took parts of other residential communities he has seen over the years and liked. A focus group of local residents created a few years back also provided input on what type of development people were interested in having built.
"It's my vision," Costello said. "As it evolved over the last seven years, however, many other people, consultants and staff joined me, and it became our vision."
Initial plans include building a model of each type of home. The clubhouse will be built at the same time, so those who will be living on the site know the structure will be there in the early stages of the project and not years down the road, Costello said.
Costello noted that the project is privately funded and said he thinks there is a need for this type of housing in Brighton, which has little new residential construction.
"I'm confident the project will be well-received," he said.
Other features of the community will be its plantings, ponds and a trail system connecting to the town's Meridian Centre Park and Erie Canal path. Costello is spending some $1 million on landscaping, including native plants.
Robert Miglioratti, a real estate broker and partner at Re/Max Plus, was part of the focus group Costello put together for the project.
Miglioratti said he was initially doubtful about the project but changed his mind.
"It became clear that (Costello) has his finger on something that doesn't exist any other place in Monroe County," Miglioratti said.
Costello is right to bank on the growth of the area, chiefly at the University of Rochester and its medical center and at Rochester Institute of Technology, he added.
While he thinks it will take time to sell the properties, Miglioratti believes one of the greatest assets of the Reserve on the Erie Canal is the mix of new housing available, which will appeal to a variety of people in different stages of life.
Jeremias Maneiro, a broker with Re/Max Realty Group, recently saw a presentation on the project and was impressed.
"There definitely is a market for it," Maneiro said. "And the offerings are so diverse; there is something for everyone."
In addition to the housing complex, Costello is making improvements to the canal for the general public.
In total, some $1.2 million is being spent. The bulk of the funding will come from Costello, while a state grant awarded to the town will cover $224,000 worth of improvements. They include a dock for motorized boats that will be built in front of Meridian Centre Park and access for other watercraft, such as canoes and kayaks.
Also, 110 lights and poles will be installed along the canal, stretching 13/4 miles west from Meridian Centre Park to Costello's CityGate property at East Henrietta Road. Canal improvements also will include new public sitting areas and upgrades to a public parking area.
The rezoning for the portion of CityGate that is in the city of Rochester has been approved. The company is working on what it will take to get zoning approval for the portion of the property in Brighton.
Brighton Supervisor William Moehle called the Reserve on the Erie Canal an exciting project that will offer new residential construction to those interested in building a home in the town.
"People want to live in Brighton, and there is a demand for this type of real estate," he said. "I think the opportunity to purchase newly constructed housing is something people will find attractive."
Moehle also spoke of the improvements along the canal.
"It will not only enhance the (Reserve) project but the community at large," he said.
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