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By: Rocco Vertuccio
YNN Your News Now
September 28, 2008

Renting in downtown Rochester is great for the city. Owning is even better. The city is trying to entice more people to buy a home downtown, because owner-occupied homes are better for the community.  In real estate, location may be everything, but for Rochester developer Patrick Duffon, nothing is better than a downtown location.

"People want to live downtown. The vacancy rate is extremely low, they also want to own. These are people who are empty-nesters out in Pittsford, Fairport, Gates, and Greece and wherever else," says Duffon. His latest project is the Capron Street Lofts: 19 loft-style condos off of South Avenue where the street dead ends into 490. The building used to be an old vacant warehouse.

Inspired by projects he saw in places like New York City, Chicago, and Cincinnati, Duffon bought the building two years ago. "It's going to be a great benefit to the community," says Duffon. Unlike most of the housing units downtown, Capron Street Lofts are not for rent. They are for sale. Only three percent of the housing units downtown are owner-occupied. Duffon says it should be at least 30 percent. "Renters come and go in for 12 months, 24 months. Homeowners are there to stay for 20 years, they really contribute to the community more than does a renter," says Duffon. Duffon's project received tax incentives from Monroe County's Industrial Development Agency. The tax abatement came from a new program called 'City Choice'. The Rochester City Council asked COMIDA to put it into place.

"That was the requirement of the city was just to entice folks to purchase a home in the downtown area," says COMIDA President Judy Seil. Since COMIDA approved City Choice a few months ago, several developers have come calling. Duffon says he would have invested downtown without the incentives. After Capron Street Lofts, he has his eyes on other downtown locations.

"I'm 100 percent focused on downtown living. That's where my energies are being spent," says Duffon."