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Corning Northside School Site Plan Involves Rental of Single-Family Homes

After years of delays, plans for Northside Place have changed and 24 single-family rental homes are now planned on the former Northside School site in Corning.

Riedman Companies, which purchased the site in early 2020, originally planned to build single-family homes, costing between $336,900 and $377,900, at Northside Place.

But the plan has been delayed by COVID-19, rising costs, delays in sourcing building materials and lack of interest, forcing the company to change its approach.

Jerry Watkins, senior real estate director at Riedman Companies, said construction of the first single-family rental home will begin in April, with work on a new home beginning every two weeks thereafter.

The first house is expected to be completed in January 2023, with the entire project expected to be completed in January 2024, Watkins said. Rental rates for 1,400-1,500 square foot homes are to be determined, but will be at or above market rate.

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Chris Sharkey, president of Corning Enterprises, said she contacted Riedman Companies in February to ask if there was a different, accelerated plan that would address the Northside Place project.

Riedman Companies, a Rochester-based company, worked diligently to develop a new plan for the project on the city’s north side.

“In terms of making that decision, if you look at some of the news and some of the stuff that’s going on out there, single family home rentals are becoming a popular thing,” Watkins said. “So we think that will be an ideal thing to do.”

Councilman Mark ReSue, I-7, who represents the neighborhood where Northside Place is located, is hopeful but not convinced the work will actually take place.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” ReSue said. “Riedman made multiple obligations that they failed to meet.”

The letter Riedman Companies wrote to the city and Corning Enterprises regarding its new plan is not legally binding.

“They have no obligation to follow up on this,” ReSue said. “They didn’t follow up on anything else that was presented to us. When they do, that’s when I’ll start to believe it.

To date, Riedman Companies has not violated any contractual or legal agreement with the city, or any law.

But ReSue’s comments are partly due to Riedman’s announcement in late August 2021 that construction of a second single-family home would begin on the site in September. This work never took place.

The number of single-family homes built for rental purposes is growing and currently accounts for about 6% of all new homes built in the United States, according to the US Census Bureau. This number is expected to double in the next 10 years.

“Corning Enterprises will work diligently with Riedman Associates to ensure the timeline and schedule are met,” Sharkey said.

Mayor Bill Boland called Riedman’s plan a wonderful change.

“It’s something we’ve been looking forward to for quite some time,” Boland said. “It sounds like an exciting concept.”

Boland said the project reflects an emerging concept in housing across the country.

“I think it’s just a whole new product that’s welcome and innovative,” Boland said.

Riedman Companies has a strong property management presence in Corning and will manage the development. The company operates Academy Place – the former building of the Corning Free Academy – as well as locations in Hornell and Elmira.

“It’s been very successful for us down there in the southern part,” Watkins said.