Work has finally begun to build seven townhouses in Downtown Erie. The townhouses, along with a coffee shop, will be located at 13th and Peach.

The project has been on hold for quite awhile. A groundbreaking ceremony took place 16 months ago. Financing and permits took awhile to come through, but, finally, there's construction activity at the site.

It's been a goal of Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott to have owner-occupied housing in the downtown area.  It is hoped that the new townhouses will be ready for occupancy by early spring. The units will range in price from $175,000 to $260,000, and are still being marketed.

12News went to Blasco Library today and asked people if they believe, at that price, would anyone move in.

MYA WILLIAMSON, ERIE

"No I don't. They built those ones up on Upper State Street. They are still vacant. People just don't have the money like we used to. Pinching pennies and stretching them as far as you can. We don't have the money for that kind of stuff."

EVAN PORTER, ERIE

"It's a matter of opinion, you know. It's a matter of who you're asking. How much money they have in their wallet. I think a couple of people would say, "Yes, definitely."

CHRISTINA MITCHELL, ERIE

"I think there are people that have that kind of money and they will move in."

LARRY RAIMONDI, ERIE

"The way the economy is, I don't know where people will get the money for that. Really. I don't think the money is to be had here in Erie anymore. Industry is gone. They're turning it into nothing but a tourist area. So I don't think it's a good investment at all."

 

Fourth River Development, of Pittsburgh, is building the townhouses.  It's being done with private money.  The company also purchased the Mercantile Building, about one block away from the townhouse construction.  That building has vacant condos, offices, and retail space for sale.