Primary Estates: Part 1

There is a movement taking place on the city’s West Side that we have written about over the past few years that appears to be picking up momentum. Residents are picking up more paintbrushes and hammers in order to invest into their neighborhoods. They are snagging properties dirt cheap, sometimes two or three at a time, and are changing the face of entire streets.

After posting on a colorful paint job on Ripley Place (see here) I received an email from Joe Galvin who wanted me to know that there were others who were taking similar measures on the West Side.  He told me that he picked up his first property 20 years ago and ever since, the house has been undergoing serious renovations to the interior. Recently he decided to paint the house a bright color (yellow), and before long his neighbor began to paint his own house a brighter color. “To tell you the truth, I never even took notice of the house,” he told me. “Once noticeable work was performed on the exterior of the house, others nearby began to work on their own houses, including an old barn that is now colored bright red. I’ve been working on houses on the West Side for twenty years, and the momentum is building. With the money that I saved by picking up my house at auction, I was able to blow out ceilings and built lofts, cut out walls and add windows to let more light in. I was even able to buy the house next door (at auction) as a rental property. I’m fixing up that home as if I was going to be the one living there. We do what we can with what we have and don’t ask for a handout or loan or grants. We do this for the love of the neighborhood and the excitement of change and what that change brings. We also do it to sell people, young and old, on the idea of moving here
too… with their own visions.”

Joe was kind enough to send along some
photos of the conversions, along with some wording describing what had
recently taken place on his street. Here it is – click on photos to enlarge:

“I have been
renovating a property on Massachusetts for the past twenty years.
Although I have not been working on it all that time… I have found
time to (98%) finish it and rent it to people that love living there and
in this neighborhood. I won’t go into details here about the inside but
take my word for it… it’s beautifully renovated… convenient… and
comfortable. My idea is to make a place as comfortable for a tenant as if I would live there myself. From head to toe I make the improvements first rate so they last for decades. I am also interested in changing the neighborhood in this process… and its working.

yellow-reno-Buffalo-NY.jpg

“I have convinced my neighbor on the corner to look at his own property
in a different light now that I have made mine such a (see yellow house)
statement. He has put his inside renovations on hold while improving the
outside and, again, the neighborhood (see the white house with blue
trim).
blue-trim-reno-Buffalo-NY.jpg

“Encouraged by the success of my first project I am now turning my efforts to a new property on Nineteenth Street… a dilapidated run down property adjacent to my first house… and this time I will not take twenty years to complete it (see blue house). Let’s just say I wasn’t prepared for this new project because I bought it from the city foreclosure auction and couldn’t know what I was getting… but I am not intimated by it either. I like to refer to my houses as ‘Primary Estates’.

Blue-2-reno-Buffalo-NY.jpg

“In fact, I am excited about the changes I bring to this property and the people who live nearby. A neighbor nearby renovated their carriage house garage recently… and I reclaimed the barn wood to improve my own property. This is only the outside (see red barn) and the inside is coming along nicely too. I am making changes and improvements daily. In the empty lot I own I have plans to make a sculpture garden that will come together this coming spring.”

Restored-Barn-Buffalo-NY.jpg

About the author  ⁄ RaChaCha

14 comments
theunitedstatesofamerica
theunitedstatesofamerica

I guess its good to start small, with a paintbrush, but I doubt there is a color vibrant and eclectic enough to revitalize a neighborhood. I am also bothered by the metaphor of covering up our problems with paint. More important is that the people who live in these houses feel better, are taking control of the things they are able, and seem to be having a little fun with it. Why not?

Pegger
Pegger

It's a good start!

defender110
defender110

Ok I'm being a bit optimistic; buts it's almost Christmas !

tom.wonderful
tom.wonderful

I'm sorry, SF is not nearly as run down as these property's are. Comparing apples and oranges. It takes more that a coat of discounted paint to restore a property.

bhorvath
bhorvath

What part of San Francisco? The part of town that exists only in people-who-don't-live-there's heads? In that case yes it does look like San Francisco, without the high price tag of course, or living plants, but except for the US Flag - in SF it would be a rainbow or hammer and sickle, of course.

defender110
defender110

It's amazing, before the street looked drabbed and rundown; now it looks as if it came out of San Francisco, albeit without the high price tag. This is a fantastick transformation and adds to the ecelectic feel of the whole west side. It feels inviting and fun and considering the prices now , quite the bargain which Im sure it won't be in a few years as prices will surely rise.

harveyagarrett
harveyagarrett

Joe is doing amazing work over there. It's one thing when new people start moving in and investing. It's a whole other level when long time residents, who've seen their property values plummet and crime increase over the last few decades, see enough of a change to start reinvesting again - especially to the level that Joe is.

Harvey

harveyagarrett
harveyagarrett

Joe is doing amazing work over there. It's one thing when new people start moving in and investing. It's a whole other level when long time residents, who've seen their property values plummet and crime increase over the last few decades, see enough of a change to start reinvesting again - especially to the level that Joe is.

Harvey

fill
fill

I love colourful houses. At the same time, I think it takes an artistic sense to choose the right shade and the right combination of colours lest the street simply looks gaudy.

sho'nuff
sho'nuff

Was he able to paint the right side of the house? That looks like the neighbor's house is so close that he couldn't get a ladder in there if he wanted to.

Normal-avenuer
Normal-avenuer

"I make the improvements first rate so they last for decades. I am also interested in changing the neighborhood in this process... and its working."

Do it right the first time! Excellent.

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