Ross firm strives to make 'city neighborhoods viable again'
By Bob Karlovits
Published: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Josh Adamek and Scott Hastings believe their work is a form of neighborhood-building.
“A lot of these properties are distressed, so they aren't worth anything,” Adamek said of the houses they are renewing. “With some work, they are homes and they help the tax base.”
Adamek is president and Hastings is vice president of Synergy Capital in the Perrysville section of Ross. The 3-year-old real estate development and investment firm is renovating homes in what Adamek calls “trendy neighborhoods” such as Lawrenceville, Bloomfield and the South Side.
“They are doing quality work,” said Aspinwall architect Susan Tusick, who has worked with the pair on several projects. “They are trying to make these city neighborhoods viable again.”
That viability shows in the value of the projects. For example, Adamek and Hastings are working on a row house on 37th Street in Lawrenceville, which county records show they purchased for $100,000. The home and property had a full market value of $32,100 in 2012 and $72,500 this year.
The remodeled home — for which the company has received an offer — has a price of $379,900.
The house next door, on which the company is working, was bought for $55,000 and had a $58,700 full market value in 2013, county records show.
When it is finished, it will be on sale for $359,900, Hastings said.
“We try to make these homes worth the price,” Hastings said of the 25 homes the company has worked on this year. “We try to include the features that make the house worthwhile.”
Both houses will have an open concept design and rooftop decks with a view of Downtown and the close-by St. Augustine Church, part of Our Lady of Angels parish.
Synergy Capital has worked with homes in the suburbs as well, taking a property, updating its design and making it newer than its construction date would indicate.
In all cases, Adamek said, the company tries to be “eco-friendly.” The Lawrenceville homes, for example, have new furnaces and air conditioning units, as well as new ductwork.
Adamek said that, because of the growing interest in that urban market, the company is investigating commercial property in the Strip District to develop into condos or apartments.
Rachaellee Lacek of Market Real Estate, Downtown, said Adamek and Hastings are able to see aspects in the market that often are ignored.
For example, the 37th Street house has four bedrooms, making it a possible site for a family.
Contemporary demands in design dictate the way the homes are developed, Hastings noted.
The 37th Street house once had three bedrooms and a bath on the second floor. As part of the remodel, two bedrooms and the bath were combined to make a master suite, while the rest of the space was converted into what could be another bedroom with a bath next to it.
The house next door, which is in early stages of development, will have three bedrooms, one of which will be a master suite on the third floor.
On streets that feature rowhouses such as in Lawrenceville, cars can quickly fill up available parking spaces.
Hastings said having on-street parking as the only method can affect the worth of a property and its sales potential. It also can determine whether a potential buyer retains interest in a property.
Pittsburgh zoning requires one, off-street parking spot for any new dwelling unit or any unit added to an existing structure, according to zoning administrator Susan Tymoczko.
Hastings and Adamek are renovating a property on 38th Street that needed so many changes it is being torn down and replaced with new construction. The new home will have off-street parking.
“Those kind of things are just no-brainers,” Hasting says.
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7852.
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