1978—1982 Daredevil Days: Leslie began her career as a union carpenter apprentice in 1978 in Springfield, Massachusetts after discovering that her liberal arts degree had in no way prepared her to make a living. Enamored with the danger and glamour, Leslie worked on Springfield area bridges and high rises while completing a four year apprenticeship.
1982-1986 Restoration Days: Leslie bought and restored twenty historic multi-family houses in Springfield’s Maple Hill Historic District which she then rented out and managed. Funding for the project included financing from limited partnerships, commercial loans and grants from the Springfield Redevelopment Authority.
1988-1990 Condominium Conversion: In 1987, Leslie bought a 20 room Victorian mansion in Holyoke. Although architecturally intact, the property needed total restoration. The building was rezoned as six condominiums and sold out within a year. Because of the inherent beauty of the building, the project was written up in the New York Times real estate section.
1988-1992 Wyndhurst Condominiums: In 1988, Leslie built a luxurious condominium development which commanded panoramic views of the Pioneer Valley and downtown Springfield. The townhouses had ten foot ceilings, round walls and custom layouts. Wyndhurst was designed to appear as a Victorian mansion and had a concealed underground parking garage below.
2001-2008 Wollaston Street: Leslie purchased 37 building lots in the Boston Road area which had been laid out in 1910 but never developed because of a lack of sewer and water. After constructing a new street, she built handsome Craftsman style homes which ranged in price from $225,000 to $340,000. A portfolio of all the plans of these uniquely designed/built homes is available.
1992 –2005 Real Estate Broker: Leslie helped hundreds of clients through the often stressful process of buying or selling a home, making use of years of hands-on widely ranging experience in financing and marketing. Her construction background was an invaluable asset to clients since Leslie could advise them about property condition, estimate improvement costs and provide remodeling designs.
1996 and 2000—Radio Hostess: Leslie hosted on WHYN in Springfield, Massachusetts a weekly radio show called “Home, Sweet, Home” which featured light-hearted stories related to buying, selling, building and maintaining real estate. Guests such as local builders, suppliers and lenders joined in as well as people who called in with comments or questions.
HISTORIC SCHOOL HOUSE - NORTH RIVER, NEW YORK
In 1998, Leslie helped her sister Cari Clement renovate this wonderful historic school house were at one time all the children in North River attended school. In deplorable condition sitting in a soaking wet plot of land, the renovation included installing perimeter drains to take away the water, structural repairs and all new mechanical systems. The original beadboard was retained, bedroom partitions built, new bathrooms installed and a kitchen in the rear “el” built.
CEDARWOOD FARM - SCHOOL HOUSE ROAD - NORTH RIVER, NY
Built around 1880, Cedarwood Farm took in TB boarders who came up from the city to sit on the porches, walk the country roads in the summer and hope that the fresh air of the Adirondacks would cure them. Some boarders recovered, including Leslie’s great-aunt who as a teenager boarded at Cedarwood and went to live into her 80’s. The owners, Jacob and Francis, succumbed to TB in 1918 and died.
In the 1990’s, the house suffered a massive fire which burned from the cellar up the back of the building.
Leslie purchased the property in 1990, renovated it and sold it.
CAMP FLICKA - NORTH RIVER, NY
In 2016, Leslie began construction of a second home for her best friend of 45 years (since they were 15!), Susan Prenatt on one of Leslie’s Shield Roads lots.
Together they worked through all the many details and issues … and amazingly, they didn’t’ have a single disagreement or argument all through the project …