After an extreme makeover inside and out, an upgraded version of what was once one of Rochester's most troubled apartment complexes is almost ready for tenants.
Andy and Kari Friederichs, of Chatfield, bought The Civic Inn at 101 E. Center St. in June 2013 with the intention of "turning it around."
"We were pretty naive," admitted Andy Friederichs during Friday's open house of The Parker, the transformed Civic Inn. The Parker was the building's original name.
The low-cost, downtown hotel / apartment complex was well-known for attracting troublesome tenants and many police calls.
"We really wanted to improve the area," Kari Friederichs said.
After a couple of years, the Friederichses decided to do an extensive renovation of the 96-year-old complex with the goal of both improving the building and its reputation.
"It was time for the bleeding to stop," he said. "It was a complete shambles."
Tenants moved out last fall and construction soon ramped up. Every aspect of the long-ignored building was upgraded in nine months of work. Many of the small apartments shared common bathrooms, but the new owners thought it would be better for each apartment to have its own private bathroom. The couple ended up investing about $700,000 in the renovation.
"The biggest thing was the bathrooms. We re-plumbed the whole thing," Andy Friederichs said.
The four-story Parker now offers 62 dorm-style, furnished apartments each with bathrooms, a mini-fridge and a microwave.
Rent ranges from $595 a month for a basic room, $650 for a standard room and $695 for a premium room. The rent includes all utilities, cable television and Internet WiFi service. The Parker features a common kitchen and lounge area for tenants and a coin-operated laundry.
The only things a tenant needs to bring with them is linens and towels.
Leases are month-to-month. That target market is students, patients in town for medical care and people looking for basic housing.
"We thought, 'What would we be happy with in an inexpensive apartment,?'" said Andy Friederichs of how he and his wife decided what to include in the rooms.
The property is being managed by Jon Espy's Infinity Real Estate and Management Group. That includes maintaining a safe building.
"There are cameras everywhere. The front door opens only by tenants' electronic key fobs," said Espy.
Knowing the Civic Inn's reputation, the Friederichses worked with the Rochester Police Dept. from the beginning. Tenants cannot have a criminal record of a felony or violent crime.
"They worked with us hand-in-hand. They were a huge help," Andy Friederichs said.