Founded in 2000 by John Oster, Edgemere’s growth accelerated a year later when John was joined by partner Stephanie Benson. In 2017, staffers Chris Roland and Charlie Oster became junior partners. The four began exploring ways to ensure the continuation of Edgemere’s business model and, in 2020, reached an agreement with Chris Stern and Justin Hamilton. Remaining as working senior staff, John and Stephanie exited as partners while Justin Hamilton and Chris Stern joined Charlie Oster and Chris Roland as partners. Edgemere’s entire staff remained in place. Edgemere continues to work with a variety of clients and partners, and the Edgemere Consulting Developer model continues seamlessly to our clients and stakeholders.
Edgemere’s first clients were The YWCA of Rochester/ Monroe County and the Urban League of Rochester Economic Development Corporation; the first closing (of the YWCA’s Vermont Manor) took place in 2002.
The development process, so simple on the macro level, becomes an intricate, iterative blend of many ingredients when applied to each project. It can take years to complete. Edgemere’s work flow reflects the process and ability to receive funding over the last twenty years; the Edgemere team has successfully financed fifty-three (53) projects with a total development cost of over $833.29 million.
Much of the firm’s success has been due to key business partners: the law firm of Cannon Heyman Weiss, accountants Flaherty Salmin, and strong design and construction teams. Key financial partners have included JP Morgan Chase, M&T, Keybank, Citizens Bank, Five-Star Bank, Community Preservation Corp. and Greater Rochester Housing Partnership as well as syndicators/investors Enterprise, NEF, RBC, CREA, Boston Financial, Key CDC, Redstone, Hudson, Wells Fargo and others. Throughout, Edgemere’s strong working relationships with local, state, and federal agencies have been instrumental.
Edgemere’s projects have won numerous awards. Both the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association and the Preservation League of New York selected the Apartments at the Belmont for honors in 2010. In 2011, the Urban League honored the Edgemere team by awarding the company its Business Service Award. Many others followed, and in 2014 Edgemere received the Rochester Design Center’s Robert Macon Award for Urban Innovation.
Edgemere is a member of several organizations focused on the preservation, rehabilitation, and creation of affordable housing. These groups include the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH), the Supportive Housing Network of New York (SHNNY), and the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA).
Two factors will likely influence the course of Edgemere’s business going forward: increasing demand for affordable housing preservation, especially in the Northeast, and demand for its services out of state. Its clients will continue to come first.