‘This is unacceptable’: Mayor Warren tours Manhattan Square construction again

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren did her follow-up tour of Manhattan Square Apartments Thursday afternoon.

She was there last August and asked the company in charge of construction — Conifer Realty— to make some quality of life improvements.

Residents have complained about what they say is black mold, intrusive asbestos removal, noise, and other things that have gone on now for almost two years.

After her tour today, Mayor Warren told News 8 she’s ‘very upset’ with the progress. A new plan she says needs to be drafted to help the residents through this all while getting the project done.

“It’s a mess going on, it’s getting worse instead of better,” says resident Pam Owens. She says things like black mold, chemical smells, and general chaos, need to change.

Karen Freeman says she understands Conifer is trying to do a good job, “But they are not putting into consideration our health at the same time,” she says.

Residents usually move out of their apartment while it is re-done, oftentimes staying in neighboring towers at the complex. Those other accommodations resident Mary Anne told News 8, are not up to speed.

Mayor Lovely Warren asked Confier to come up with a plan to remedy these problems in August. She came Thursday to follow up on that.

Manhattan Square Apartments

“This is unacceptable. We’re going to figure out the path forward because at the end of the day, these people deserve quality housing. This was a challenge. This apartment building is a significant challenge, and the developers have taken on a big challenge,” says Warren.

But she knows the finished job is going to be better for residents, “It’s just a matter of how you produce that end product,” she says.

Warren says the City has worked with Conifer for years in Rochester, and they have done great work. She’s counting on them to “step it up” at Manhattan Square.

A representative for Confier adding when all is said and done, this will be a positive change. “Our residents are really important to us. Hearing their concerns is something we need to do on a daily basis,” says Lisa Caseman with the company.

Caseman says there is light at the end of the tunnel and progress is being made. When it’s all set, it will be a big upgrade for residents. Behind her, brand-new stoves and other furniture were arriving for finished apartments.

“When they move back, they’re moving into a completely different apartment,” she says adding, “This is a large effort, both on the construction and development team, but also on the residents.”

Warren says a new plan to finish this is needed. “They need to figure out a way to do this better, and we’re going to hold them accountable to do so,” she says.

Warren did say they are going to talk to the City’s law department, the State, and Conifer to see what they can do to best remedy this situation. The project is expected to be completely finished in the Spring of next year. 

An example of what the finished apartments look like (From story on March 4, 2020)

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