Transforming under-used buildings into vibrant living spaces is proving to be a lucrative deal for investors eyeing the “work-live-play” vibe of Easton.
Investors Rich Rosati and Jack Onorati recently completed Easton Lofts, four loft-style downtown apartments in a building with two retail establishments on the first floor.
At 321 Northampton St., the apartments feature 12-foot ceilings, granite countertops, high-end cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and three bathrooms in each unit. The two- and three-bedroom apartments, which are filled, range in size from 1,600 square feet to 2,200 square feet and are priced at about $1,400 to $1,600 for monthly rent.
The investors also see continued growth in this section of the downtown and purchased 315 Northampton St., the property next door. They plan to build similar New York-style loft apartments on the upper floor and recently netted a video game store for the commercial/retail space on the first floor, Rosati said.
The residential units will be an extension of Easton Lofts, he said.
“We found that offering substantial space and furnishings, there were quite a bit of different groups of renters we attracted,” said Rosati.
In addition to attracting young professionals, the units appealed to those in the 50-60 age range looking for living space close to a theater, college and restaurants.
Now, there’s a waiting list for these units, and construction should start in six months to a year, Rosati said.
“We’re deciding whether to create them to rent or to sell; there’s interest in both sides, quite a few inquiries on buying,” he said.
BUY VS. RENT
Urban revitalization will continue to be a trend in the city as more people are looking to buy, rather than rent, places to live, Rosati said.
“It is very expensive to renovate an old building, but it’s getting to the point in Easton where the rents have increased,” he said. “It’s slowly changing the face of the downtown.”
Five to six years ago, there were not too many quality apartments in downtown Easton, he said.
Across the street, VM Development Group LLC renovated the old Pomeroy’s department store building as part of a $4.5 million project to create areas for new French restaurant Maxim’s 22, which opened last year, and Cheeburger Cheeburger, a new burger eatery opening shortly next door on the first floor. Above, VM Development transformed the upper floors into high-end apartments.