2022 CBREDT PROGRAM GRADUATE STORIES
Darren is a fourth-generation East Side resident. As he approaches retirement, he has purchased a piece of property in an effort to help beautify the East Side.
Could you please tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Darren Renford. I am a fourth-generation East Side resident who commutes to Rochester where I work as a Plant Engineer at the Rochester Psychiatric Center. As I approach retirement, I have purchased a piece of property in an effort to help beautify the East Side.
How did you learn about the CBREDT program?
Back in 2021, I was trying to get some information from Crystal Peoples on different things going on and they sent me the number for the program. I called and talked to the people there and they were kind enough to give me a little information. I was too late for last year’s program but I stayed with it and reapplied. I was happy to be accepted.
Could you tell us about your building/project/goals? What are you hoping to accomplish?
I’m trying to set up some self-storage units. I initially got the property to store my cars but it needs a lot of work. As I’ve gone through this program, it put my brain in a whole different direction. In addition to wanting to be successful, part of that success is having beauty in the neighborhood where I would like a business. I now realize that I can move my cars somewhere else and provide a service for people in the community and beyond. So storage is something that everybody needs.
How will your project benefit the neighborhood/East Side community?
My project will take eyesore space and turn it into something that will have business coming through.
How will what you learned from this class help you accomplish your development goals?
It will give me the knowledge, the taste for more knowledge, and the skills that are needed. It’s the whole team that is presenting us with this information. So it’s coming from all different areas and they’re throwing you this stuff. They are here to help you through the process and not just throw it at you and say, “Hey, do what you got to do with it.” They know you need more help now and they’re here to help, and that’s from everybody — all of the professors and whoever is connected with the program. My experience has been that they thirst to help you as well as you’re thirsting to get this stuff.
Would you recommend this program to others who hope to develop commercial property on the East Side? If so, why, and what would you say to them?
Yes! you better, what have you got to lose? It’s a no-brainer. And it’s just it’s unbelievable how you come out because I didn’t have a clue of any of this stuff. It’s overwhelming, the expense to develop a property. Acquiring the property and maintaining it is just one part. What you see is a finished product, but there is so much more that goes into it — putting it together in the sense of manufacturing and fabricating, and the people — the team that you need in order to do it.
What are your immediate next steps?
I would like to put in a few more units rather than doing what I originally thought about doing — having my cars in one section and then these units in another. I need to get my cars to another place and then use that space for more storage for people in the community.
With people learning and people in the community helping teach, the community as a whole will benefit from one little seed.
What is your vision for the East Side?
With people learning and people in the community helping teach, the community as a whole will benefit from one little seed. And hopefully, that’s what this program will do, as well as plant those seeds in others all through the city and make things happen because it’s a great city.