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722 West Water Street
One of the oldest homes in the city of Elmira, The Foster House, a stately Georgian-style mansion, was built in 1831 for Captain Samuel Partridge who was a War of 1812 veteran and served on the 27th Congress of the United States House of Representatives. The structure was constructed of a brick that was rumored to have been imported from England. In 1841, Captain Partridge sold the property to William Foster of Rhode Island. Foster farmed the land until his death in 1864, passing it on to his wife, and then she to their daughter, Mary, in 1870. During the Civil War, the Union Army used land from the farm to open a prisoner of war camp. The camp was nicknamed “Hellmira” due to the harsh treatment subjected upon Confederate prisoners. The Foster House also served as the headquarters for Union officers in control of the camp. Additionally, the property is believed to have played an active role on the Underground Railroad, as Elmira was at the time home to many abolitionists who helped escaped slaves on their journey to freedom. The property stayed in the Foster family for three generations before being sold in 1917 to a descendant of General Alexander Diven. The original building was a standard two story rectangle shaped home that included the four main chimneys. Significant alterations were made to the house when it was sold to Alexander Diven Falck, who served as president of Corning Glass Works from 1929 to 1941. It was in this time a full attic was added, as well as the large wings on either side of the house, and the large two-story columned porch on the back. Since 1963, the home has been used primarily as medical offices for doctors and medical administrative work. The inside was converted from a single family dwelling into offices through a series of construction phases—good for turning large spaces into smaller, more private work areas, but destructive to the original architectural flow of this magnificent, historic home. In most recent years, the house served as the Physicians Billing office for Arnot Medical Services.
We purchased the property in April 2017, and converted it to nine spacious and luxury apartments; two 1-bedrooms and seven 2-bedrooms. The house had numerous walls constructed in order to divide up the rooms for individual offices and exam rooms, making it almost maze-like to navigate. Between removing the drop ceilings, taking down non-original walls, yanking out miles of office wiring from outdated information technology systems, and fixtures being updated, we filled twelve 40 cubic foot dumpsters with debris! All of the windows are original, and repairs were made when needed. On the outside, The Foster House is sporting a new roof, a fresh coat of paint, and most of the woodwork and plaster detailing has been repaired. Mini split HVAC units have also been installed since only half of the house had air conditioning. The apartments throughout Foster House are each unique in the fact that they all have different floorplans. First floor apartments have laminate wood flooring and the second floor has maple hardwood flooring. The first floor has five apartments; out of the five, one has a single bedroom and the other four are two bedroom units and are, on average, 1,000sq ft. The second floor has four large units, each with two bedrooms. Unit nine is exceptionally unique since it is split between two levels using the second and third floor. The brand-new kitchens feature white Shaker-style cabinetry, granite countertops, and subway tile with glass inlay tiles for a stunning backsplash. Bathrooms feature surround tub/showers, tile floors, brushed nickel plumbing fixtures, dresser-style vanities, and a matching linen cabinet. The first floor apartments have a communal laundry room and each second floor apartment has their own washers and dryers. All utilities are included in this building's rent, including internet!
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