Modern Home Builder - Winter 2016 - Volume 2 - 143
Rossi adds that the residential services package generates income for the company and boosts the building's appraised value.
"It's a little more work up front, but the return on investment is a
no-brainer," he says.
The apartments also feature home automation solutions including Bluetooth door locks, thermostats and lighting that can
be controlled remotely. Yet many of the vintage characteristics of
the warehouse, such as exposed beams, were preserved during the
restoration, Rossi says. "It's a mix of the old and new," he says.
Redburn Development was founded in 2012, shortly after Rossi
and Blackburn sold BullEx, a company they founded that manufactured firefighter service training equipment. At the time of the
sale, BullEx had 150 employees and built firefighter training centers in the United States, Europe, China and Australia. "We had
a lot of technology experience, a lot of technology background,"
Rossi says. The duo decided to apply that experience to real estate
development, which they started with some smaller residential developments in Troy. "We wanted to get a couple of projects under
our belts," Rossi recalls.
The first of those projects was the River Street Lofts, which involved the renovation of a vacant 125-year-old building into 21 upscale apartments and three retail storefronts. The River Street Lofts
was the first apartment building in downtown Troy to use green energy and environmentally friendly building techniques, Rossi says.
The project won the Revitalize Troy award from the city.
The building's roof is covered by solar panels, which generate almost 40 percent of residential power. The building also has
high-efficiency hot water heaters, lighting, gas furnaces and air
conditioners, he says.
Rossi adds that the company's key differentiator is the business
and technology experience he and his partner possess. "We're entrepreneurs doing development," he says. "We have a fresh perspective."
They also believed the former ladder factory was an ideal location for the loft development. "The building was maintained, and
it is also in a really good location," Rossi says. The complex is located in the heart of the Albany Capital District, the third-largest
metropolitan region in New York. It is situated near in a residential
neighborhood, and walking and biking paths as well as the Hudson
River are nearby.
Rossi and Blackburn used their marketing backgrounds to promote the Tilley Lofts, relying heavily on social media platforms.
"Facebook is our No. 1 advertiser," Rossi says. Additionally, the
company website featured 3-D floor plans of the units several
months before construction was completed.
Redburn Development required less than one year to complete
the project. The company acquired the warehouse in December
2014, started construction in April and welcomed the first tenants
"We're entrepreneurs doing
development.We have a fresh
TOM ROSSI, CO-OWNER
in October. The building was almost 100 percent occupied before
the end of the year. Rossi adds that Tilley Lofts' rents are affordable
despite the amenities and sustainable features. The average rent is
between $1,100 and $1,150, he says.
Redburn Development is looking to the future with plans to
renovate historic School Building No. 1 in Troy into a 28-unit
apartment building with numerous sustainable features, Rossi says.
The key challenge will be to restore the building without replacing
the existing boiler, pipes or electrical wiring, he says. The company also plans to restore one of Hudson's oldest warehouses into a
boutique hotel with 54 rooms. )
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