A walking tour last spring of Penn Yan, New York, yielded some interesting insights of downtown revitalization for a group of Canadians from Norfolk County.
Among the key observations: second-floor apartments can be converted into higher revenue overnight tourist accommodation.
Steve Griffin of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center led the walking tour of Penn Yan (pop. 5,200). His organization is the sole economic development agency responsible for Yates County (pop. 25,000).
Our first stop was Chris Wright’s second-floor apartments, which he renovated with assistance from the town’s façade improvement program. The 800-square-foot two-bedroom apartment is now advertised as tourist accommodation. Chris can now rent the space out for $300 per night to tourists, as opposed to $400 per month to low-income tenants.
One tour participant would later write that the key take-away for them was “how important it is to have lived-in downtowns.”
Next stop was Birkett Landing, a project by developer Chris Iversen. The former historic industrial building has been gutted and renovated into a mixed-use development containing 13 residential market-rate apartments and about 4,600 square feet of commercial space.
To read the full article, download the Finger Lakes Study Tour PDF and go to page 9.