Randy and Jeff Fancher, with their family, and county leaders break ground for the Brickhouse Commons Wednesday afternoon.Photo: Mark Goodman/Daily News
By BRIAN QUINN, email@example.com
Will it be predominantly residential development or primarily retail at Brickhouse Commons? Randy and Jeff Fancher of J&R Property Holdings LLC don’t know exactly how the three-phase development will turn out, but they’re prepared for either scenario.
For now, construction is underway on the first phase — a $1.7 million investment in six market-rate one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments on the second floor, each with a garage, and a 7,000-square-foot “vanilla” box interior space to attract commercial tenants. J&R Fancher broke ground Wednesday afternoon at the site on Brickhouse Road, near the intersection of state routes 5 and 77, less than a mile from Interstate 90.
Randy Fancher said the development was something he and Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Vice President of Business and Workforce Development Chris Suozzi started working on the process about five years ago.
Of the choice of location, Randy Fancher said, “I live in the area and just driving by, seeing the location, it just seemed ideal. It doesn’t affect anything agricultural ... It’s kind of a commercial corridor.” Fancher said the Phase 1 building should take 10 months to a year to complete. J&R Fancher is talking to some potential tenants, but nothing is final so far, Randy Fancher said.
“We own all this property, so our plan is to continue on,” he said. “There’s eight buildable acres here.”
There will be a couple of other phases, Randy Fancher said. Phases 2 and 3 aren’t defined right now.
“Based on the demand on Phase 1 ... if the apartments go better, we’ll do more apartments. If the retail goes better, we’ll do more retail,” he said.
It’s a little soon to know for sure, but Randy Fancher estimated there would be 50 apartments by the time building is complete.
Jeff Fancher said J&R Fancher is in prelease mode right now.
He also said the company is waiting to see whether there’s more demand for housing or retail.
“We’re kind of seeing what the market dictates.” Jeff Fancher said.
Randy Fancher said there would be room for three retail tenants on the first floor.
“Essentially a fast food restaurant/coffee shop, maybe doctor’s office, hair salon is what we’re looking for,” he said. “We’re reaching out to local and national companies. We just started construction today, so we’re actively pursuing it.”
Randy Fancher said there will also be three electric charging stations at Brickhouse Commons. That will be part of the first phase, he said.
Local officials praised J&R Fancher’s investment, citing the opportunities revealed in various housing studies. The addition of market-rate housing for recent projects is a critical component to realizing the benefits of economic development in Genesee County, said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde.
Hyde said it’s been rewarding and gratifying to him to work with partners in the private and public sectors to make projects like this work.
“I want to thank Randy and Jeff for your investment. It just means a lot,” Hyde said. “To be able to add some housing of this caliber and quality ...desperately needed.