Newburgh is not so much a hidden gem anymore. Between its proximity to the Hudson River, beautiful architecture and rich history, it’s easy to understand why a real estate group might have its eyes on this city. However, those who have grown up in Newburgh or have created their roots here long before its more recent developments, are protective over who is involved in future developments – understandably so.
Seraphim Equities has been understanding of this during their time in Newburgh so far. Executive Director Adam Shayanfekr knew he wanted to be sensitive to the needs of the community while also helping restore some of its best properties. While he is coming from out of town (Long Island) he has made frequent visits to the area to learn about the city and those in it.
They are taking a community-first approach. For example, before the Christmas holiday, they partnered with Blacc Vanilla and the Newburgh Enlarged City School District to donate toys for those in need. This was just one of the first initiatives among many others that they plan to continue.
“I’m a personable person who loves to talk,” said Shayanfekr. “If I run into someone at a Newburgh coffee shop that I don’t necessarily know, I strike a conversation with them and ask them what their story is and ask what they want to see in the area and gather their input, thoughts and ideas and bring it back to my team and execute it as best we can.”
It’s clear the Shayanfekr and the team’s approach isn’t one that leaves them in an office many miles away. Ever since growing up with a family in real-estate and learning quickly he wasn’t one to sit in an office all day, he decided to see what ways he could do things differently.
“I wanted to be a part of the action on construction sites and within communities,” said Shayanfekr about how he created Seraphim Equities’ model. “Communities. I wanted to bring a new skill set to the table. When the opportunity to join the family business presented itself, we collectively agreed that the next venture would be Seraphim Equities.”
Looking first at Beacon across the river, Shayanfekr found Newburgh.
“We took a drive into Newburgh and I right away fell in love with all of the historical elements that I saw,” said Shayanfekr. “Personally, I am a huge fan of architecture. The old-school brick structures have so much passion and detail to them and I saw an opportunity to get involved in a community that had a strong feeling to bring life into these buildings.”
However, the attitude of Newburgh residents is what really drew Shayanfekr in.
“Everyone was boots on the ground, ready to roll up their sleeves,” said Shayanfekr. “People were taking action rather than just talking about things. I found that very interesting because I haven’t seen it in other areas before. It kind of inspired me and motivated me to work harder to get as involved as possible on all sides of things.”
The restore, not renovate, mindset has allowed them to tackle issues like development without displacement. Seraphim Equities doesn’t set out to develop or renovate anywhere that is already occupied.
“If someone lives somewhere they are entitled to that,” said Shayanfekr. “Everyone has their rights to their home and possessions. With that in mind, we identify properties that are vacant and in distress so we don’t have to vacate a property, it is already vacant at the time of acquisition.”
Their main eye is on properties to be restored for mixed-use development.
“We are trying to bring in the businesses that this city needs or wants, whether its a grocery store or a different coffee shop or lunch or deli, that everyone can afford and be a part of and help the community be more sustainable instead of traveling to a neighboring city or town to buy groceries or whatever the case may be,” said Shayanfekr.
For residential properties, they plan to rent them at market price and accept federal help as well. They also are looking into affordable housing.
Plus, Shayanfekr doesn’t see it as just an investment in the City of Newburgh, but all of the people who reside here as well.
“It’s not all business for us, we’re excited to grow with the city,” said Shayanfekr. “We care about the existing businesses in Newburgh plus the ones that are coming into the city and are taking a hands-on approach. We’re developing a group that will bring local businesses and organizations together to source and allocate resources that will better the daily lives of residents and businesses.”
They start by thinking about the exterior of the building, with the belief that curb appeal is something to strongly consider. Shayanfekr has been working closely with the City of Newburgh’s Architectural Review Commission to approve exterior restorations on Chambers and Liberty Streets.
“The exterior is the first thing that everyone notices when they come to the city,” said Shayanfekr. “We want to bring back the beauty of the building from when it was originally built.”
They are anticipating starting exterior renovations during the beginning of March. Interior renovations are on hold while they wait for permits to be issued.
To learn more about Seraphim Equities, visit seraphimequities.com.