Mayor Lovely Warren ‘a little disturbed’ after touring Manhattan Square Apartments

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — News 8 has been covering the story of the Manhattan Square Apartments in downtown Rochester since residents reached out on the concerns of the on-going construction work there.

Asbestos removal and strong chemical smells are just a couple of the issues residents say they have had to endure over the past 18 months. 

MORE | Manhattan Square residents fed up with ‘endless’ asbestos work, other issues

After hearing complaints from residents, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren took a tour of the apartments Wednesday. While she says she knows the project is a massive undertaking, the mayor is calling on the owners, Conifer, to come up with a new approach to getting this job done. 

“I was a little bit disturbed by what I saw,” Mayor Warren said.

Warren says she wants to work with Conifer and come up with a better plan on construction and caring for residents. 

“I judge these things by ‘would I want my mom living in this situation?’ I think that they can do a better job,” she said.

MORE | Tenants Union leader takes Manhattan Square owners to court

The Mayor says Conifer is trying to renovate a building that’s been neglected by previous owners for decades, but she says how they go about doing this is what ultimately matters. 

While 65 apartment projects are completed, 55 are resident-free and in the works right now. Those without apartments are in other furnished units on-site, but that’s not working for everyone. 

“Thank God Lovely Warren herself came today,” said Pamela Owens-Dade who has lived at Manhattan for 13 years.

Owens-Dade complained for months about living there in the midst of this long process. 

“We are praying that Conifer really comes together and comes up with a plan for all of us,” Owens-Dade said.

“It’s always helpful to hear concerns that the residents have first-hand,” said Lisa Kaseman with Conifer. She says they are working on coming up with a revised plan. 

“It’s a construction site as you say, so it is one of those things that’s not an exact science,” Kaseman said.

MORE | First look at Manhattan Square complex upgrades

While the Mayor says this is a challenging project, she’s confident Conifer will come through. 

“Conifer’s always been responsive, this is not the first project that they’ve done in our city,” Mayor Warren said.

Conifer is due to come back to the table in two weeks time with an improved plan. The project is due to be completed late next year.

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