Before and After: 156 Lander Street

Here’s a before and after on a block that some people shy away from. I’ve always loved the homes here and have thought that they are all diamonds in the rough. This project by Michele Leone really shows their potential. Scroll below to read her story.

I bought my first house in the City of Newburgh 15 years ago. It was on Farrington St right around the corner from Lander St.

I remember looking out the window from the top floor. I saw mountains and a bit of the river, but Surrounding my house from Chambers to Farrington to Lander St there was nothing but abandoned and burned down houses. I quietly shook my head and said to myself…what the heck did I do?! Who would live here?

Indeed, it was difficult to find a family to rent my apartments back then. Anytime you mentioned the apartment was off Lander St, the prospective tenant would said “No way.”

Well not too long after, Lander st received a grant to better the neighborhood. That was the beginning of change.

Fast forward 14 years later…I bought 3 more houses during that time…one on Dubois, one on Benkard and one on Lander St…right around the corner from my house on Farrington. It was the only beautiful house that was not burned down when I looked out that window many years ago. I had to have it. Then when I saw that 156 Lander St was an available city owned property it caught my interest.

The house was remarkably in decent condition, although it had a big X on the outside.

My husband and I waited a year for the deed to be cleared and then once we closed on the house the work started right away.

The biggest mistake was fixing and painting the peeling paint on the walls and ceilings before doing the electric and plumbing.
Most of the work was sloppy and rushed, so we had to fix and paint over the entire house in the end.

Another issue was the plumbing. Most of the Newburgh plumbers were unavailable, not dependable and very pricey. I then learned you could get licensed plumbers from reciprocal city locations like Poughkeepsie, Beacon and Albany. Well I found a great plumber in Albany of all places! He was honest, dependable and reasonably priced.

One year later, the house was complete. Besides the plumber, everyone that worked on the house lived nearby in Newburgh. I didn’t have a contractor, instead I used a gifted carpenter, Mr Ormiston Gumbs, who put a lot of care and detail into the house.

Well, it was a long journey, but my husband and I am so happy with the outcome of the house. So many neighbors pass by commenting about how nice the house was turning out. It gave them pride to see the neighborhood changing for the better. Now when I look out my window at Farrington. I see beautiful buildings, the mountains and even a bit of the river.

I can proudly say, I really love Newburgh…the music, the food, the atmosphere, the people. Most people who live in Newburgh know I take pride in my houses and care about who my tenants are. Now I have prospective calling me up to find if my Lander Street apartments are available for rent!

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