The owners of Coco’s Bistro plan to build contemporary new homes near their popular restaurant, increasing their already significant investment in South Park.
Owners Jim Gagnet and Karen Wick-Gagnet have brought nine vacant living units in the neighborhood back from the dead and plan to build as many as 10 to 12 contemporary new homes unlike any housing nearby.
The Gagnets have helped give the northwestern section of South Park a much-needed makeover with their restoration projects, but now they are going to take a swing at creating new product.
The area already has welcomed the new Flats at South Park apartments, and the developers have plans to build new condos and a variety of other types of housing close by.
“What drives me is improving our neighborhood, improving where we live and improving our business,” said Jim Gagnet.
In 2012, Coco’s Bistro moved to 250 Warren St. from its previous home on Wayne Avenue.
Soon after the move, Coco’s owners began acquiring properties along Pulaski Street near their restaurant.
The Gagnets have fixed up about nine housing units, most of which were single family and had been vacant for many years and were falling apart.
The properties were put through major renovations. Most have been sold and all are occupied. The Gagnets held onto a duplex that they rent out on one side and use the other side for Airbnb rentals.
The Gagnets also own multiple vacant parcels on which they hope to build new housing.
Three homes are planned for a grassy lot at Pulaski and Lincoln streets. The ground-breaking on the first home is expected in about 30 to 40 days, and it should take about three months to complete, Jim Gagnet said.
The homes, which are single-family, are very contemporary, with sloped roofs and some high windows.
The single-story homes have two bedrooms, two bathrooms and an open concept for the kitchen, living and dining spaces. They have 1,178 square feet of space.
There will be courtyards on the backsides of the homes, which lead to a one-car garage and a parking pad.
“This is on a slab, one level, no steps, pull into the garage, walk into the house, there’s two bedrooms — this is a really hot product,” he said.
The living rooms of the homes have a vaulted ceiling, and the roof is pitched to one side, so the tall walls have a high light source, he said.
Older people who live in the suburbs want to downsize and move to the downtown area into housing that is easy to get around in, he said.
Gagnet said they hope to build 10 to 12 similar types of new homes on vacant land in the area. The project could take a couple of years.
The homes are expected to sell for about $189,000. Buyers would benefit from a 15-year property tax abatement.
The area is full of older homes, and the new product would provide some balance between historic- and contemporary-style structures, Gagnet said.
Gagnet said the restoration projects have been rewarding but aren’t always especially profitable. He said he sold a home for about $150,000 that he spent $145,000 to buy and renovate.
The project has been granted multiple zoning variances that will allow it to move forward.