Triangle Half-Bath Program

Triangle Half-Bath Program

Supporting long-term residency by providing free architectural designs for owner-occupants seeking to add a half-bathroom to the ground floor of single-bathroom homes
Geography

Ten properties within the Triangle Neighborhood of North Winton Village in Rochester

Sponsoring Institution
NeighborWorks Rochester
Key Milestones
1979
NeighborWorks America founds its Rochester chapter.
2005
NeighborWorks Rochester launches the Healthy Blocks Initiative.
2014
The Triangle Neighborhood becomes the fourth target neighborhood of the Healthy Blocks Initiative.
2015
Neighborworks Rochester conducts Neighborhood Market Analysis and Branding Campaign.
2016
NeighborWorks Rochester pilots the Half-Bath Program.
Financial Implications
  • Provided pro-bono architectural designs and cost estimates to participating households, an estimated $1,000 value per homeowner
  • Conducted market analysis through a $35,000 Neighborhood Marketing Program and Pride in Place Grant that further covered consultant time to explore sale price, number of baths, and other neighborhood characteristics
  • Allowed participating households to complete bathroom additions for significantly less than the expected $10,000 increase in equity that the addition would bring

Select Initiative Goals

  1. Improve the physical and economic value of a neighborhood for current residents
  2. Increase homeowner retention in order to stabilize and strengthen a target middle neighborhood
  3. Reduce the number of investors purchasing single family homes in the Triangle
Implementation: Initiative Design
  • The pilot project provided ten Triangle neighborhood homeowners with free architectural designs and cost estimates to add a half-bath to homes with only one bathroom. 
  • The pilot grew from a market analysis that revealed that houses with 1.5 baths sold for $10,000 more than homes with only one bathroom. The Analysis also documented that homes in the Triangle that were priced at $65,000 or less had a 64-percent chance of being purchased by an investor. The average sale price of a home in the Triangle at that time was $76,000. The project targeted owner-occupants who had homes on smaller-than-average lots with houses assessed at $70,000 or less with only one bathroom, as these would be most vulnerable to investor interest.
  • The pilot removed some of the barriers faced by low- to moderate-wealth homeowners when beginning a project, such as finding an architect, paying for design and cost estimates, and managing complex and expensive construction.
  • Individual homeowners were responsible for deciding whether to proceed with any renovations and for determining how they would pay for the work. Qualifying households could, however, seek funding through NeighborWorks Rochester’s revolving loan program. One commercial bank created a special loan product made available only to Triangle residents to help with the costs of adding a half-bath as well.
Key Innovations

The program is a notable, early example of the emerging practice of tailoring place-based, neighborhood strengthening strategies to the specific market context of middle neighborhoods.

The program is also notable for the thoroughness if its market analysis. Based on this analysis, the program targeted owner-occupied homes that were vulnerable to purchase by investors. In this case, homes priced below $65,000 had a 64 percent chance of being sold to an investor. Adding a half-bath would help increase home values above this price point. The analysis also revealed that many homes had only one bath and three bedrooms. Adding a half-bath also improved the comfort of the homeowner, which would help homeowners to stay longer in their homes.

The program is notable for helping low- to moderate-wealth homeowners gain high-quality information about how to improve the physical quality of their homes and increase the value of the properties when they do sell.

Staffing and/or CapacityTechnical assistance to conduct the market analysis was supported by grants from NeighborWorks America. Local residents and merchants associations worked with NeighborWorks Rochester to develop the program. Key partners include:

Strategies Utilized

See also
Akron, OH

Promoting economic and urban development in neighborhood business districts through comprehensive corridor planning, incentive programs, and public management reforms

More Resources
The Reinvestment Fund, 2018 – live
Paul Brophy, Ed., 2016
Aaron Renn, 2018

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