Over the next eight months, Breathing Lights project partners will nominate Rehab Heroes—a regional group of individuals who have successfully rehabbed vacant or abandoned buildings in Albany, Schenectady and Troy and have expertise in navigating the complicated issues and tasks required to successfully bring a previously vacant structure back to life. Rehab Heroes will be a resource to prospective home buyers and rehabbers.
The Breathing Lights project team is proud to announce Bonnie Novella, CAIA, and Sandra Vardine as the first Rehab Heroes.
Bonnie Novella, CAIA
Ms. Novella was raised in Ballston Spa. She received her bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University, received the Private Equity financial certification from the Said School of Business at Oxford University, and is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst.
Ms. Novella has spent 24 years working in commercial real estate and private equity with firms in Boston, Santa Barbara and San Jose, CA, and New York City.
Ms. Novella purchased her first investment property for Mohawk Realty Partners, LLC at 1559-61 Foster Avenue in Schenectady, NY in 2014. The property was vacant and marked for demolition due to damage from a water main break and years of neglect. The firm acquired the property and rehabilitated it over a 12-month period, bringing it back to “new” feeling. The first new residents took occupancy in September 2015.
Mohawk Realty Partners, LLC, was formed in 2015 by Ms. Novella to invest in distressed real estate assets to rehabilitate and stabilize. Ms. Novella sees the Capital District vacancy as a special opportunity for investment, given the very low prices combined with positive indicators of population and employment growth. She is personally inspired and motivated to make these investments by a deep family history in the Capital Region.
Sandra Vardine, Director, House of Angels Renaissance Projects
Sandra is a visual artist with a deep love and knowledge of renaissance art and architecture who is responsible for the authentic restoration of three historical brownstones in Troy; the former St. Mary’s Church in Schenectady; and the former Sacred Heart Church in Cohoes.
House of Angels is dedicated to repairing, restoring, renovating and preserving historic buildings by converting them into museums, fresco galleries, and/or art schools. Restored buildings will be available to the general public and collegiate institutions. House of Angels pursues and develops programs to teach and engage underprivileged children in the arts. Exceptional works created by students will be available for display in galleries/museums.
As Director, Ms. Vardine is also instrumental in implementing the gallery, museum, school and event venues that are intended to support the complete project. For more information: www.RenaissanceProjects.org