Project Provides High Quality Affordable Housing for East Side Residents
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of 49 new townhomes on properties near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The $15 million St. John Fruit Belt Community Development Corporation project includes 17 buildings made up of two, three and four-bedroom energy-efficient, for-rent townhomes. The properties were constructed with the same historical aesthetic as existing area properties, allowing them to blend in with the East Side neighborhood. Monthly rent for the townhomes will be $500 for two bedroom units, $550 for three bedroom units and $600 for four bedroom units, plus utilities. Three units have been constructed specifically for mobility-impaired residents and two are for hearing- and visually-impaired individuals.
“This project will provide quality, affordable homes for families on the East Side, complement the growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and serve as a catalyst for private investment in the Fruit Belt neighborhood,” said Governor Cuomo. “This is another example of the ongoing renaissance in this region and yet another reason why Buffalo is truly a city on the move.”
"New York State is proud to be a leader on this outstanding project. Families across the state need quality, affordable housing, and this will make that available as well as build the foundation for additional economic growth,” said Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy. “Under Governor Cuomo's leadership we are finally seeing it come to fruition on Buffalo's East Side, changing the landscape of the region and bringing opportunities to these neighborhoods for more investment."
New York State Homes & Community Renewal Commissioner/CEO Darryl C. Towns said, “Governor Cuomo has committed to revitalizing Buffalo with a $1 billion initiative to strengthen the regional economy. The State’s investment in St. John Town Homes brings affordable housing to the community, grows jobs and will encourage further investment in the Fruit Belt. I join in congratulating Pastor Chapman for building a better community with meaningful opportunities that will benefit individuals, families and a neighborhood.”
Minister Michael Chapman, Pastor/CEO, St. John Fruit Belt Community Development Corporation said, “We are appreciative of the support of Governor Cuomo and New York State Homes and Community Renewal for these 49 townhomes, a $15 million project. The completion of this project is the continuation of St. John Fruit Belt Community Development Corporation's $500 million East Side Development Project.”
Townhome resident Chris Bonilla said, “Before moving into 132 Mulberry Street, my children and I were living in a small, three-bedroom apartment, which needed a lot of repair work. I always wanted to give my family a better place to live. Moving into one of St. John’s townhomes not only provided me and my children with a wonderful place to live, but this is the next best thing to owning our own house. This move has made our family so happy.”
Each home has a front porch and off-street parking located in the rear of the property, as well as energy efficient mechanical systems and landscaping. Three of the buildings are single-story handicapped accessible units. Thanks to a local workforce development program, the project reached the goal of 60 percent minority participation, which includes training for unemployed Fruit Belt neighborhood residents for in-demand jobs.
Federal funds, distributed by New York State, totaled $12.4 million for the project, including $10 million of New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal’s Low Income Housing Tax Credits and $2.4 million in funds through the New York State HOME program. The City of Buffalo also provided $2.75 million in HOME funds.
Also involved in the project are:
- Key Community Development Corporation, which provided approximately $9.2 million in private equity investment.
- Stratford Capital Group, which is the syndicator for the project.
- M&T Bank, which provided construction financing.
- Lamparelli Construction Company and SLR Contracting and Service Company, both of Buffalo, were the project’s general contractors.
- Foit-Albert Associates of Buffalo provided architectural designs for the townhomes.
- Hodgson Russ, LLP is the project’s legal counsel.
- Oxford Consulting Inc. is the development consultant also responsible for ensuring the project functions effectively for the next 30- 50 years.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal consists of all the State's major housing and community renewal agencies, including the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, Housing Trust Fund Corporation and others. The Low-Income Housing Credit Program provides a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal income tax liability for project owners who develop rental housing that serves low-income households with incomes of up to 60% of area median income.
The New York State HOME Program is a federally-funded allocation to expand the supply of affordable housing stock. HOME funds a variety of affordable housing activities including new construction, rehabilitation/preservation, home improvement and home buyer assistance that are undertaken by municipalities and not-for-profit organizations that serve as local program administrators.
Congressman Brian Higgins said, “This project represents a coming together of federal, state, city and community resources to build up a neighborhood. St. John’s Community Development Corporation’s work to give families opportunity and a place to call home embraces the ‘love thy neighbor’ mission.”
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, noting that he allocated $2.75 million in city HOME funds for this project, said, “St. John Fruit Belt Community Development Corporation’s $15.3 million Townhomes project in Buffalo’s Fruit Belt neighborhood is more great news, creating jobs and affordable housing opportunities for the many hardworking men and women who work on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and throughout Buffalo. I thank Governor Andrew Cuomo and other partners for their continued commitment to the transformation of this historic neighborhood by enhancing the quality of life for city residents and putting people back to work.”
State Senator Mark Grisanti said, “The completion of this project exemplifies the best in state and local partnership – rejuvenation, revitalization and reinvestment and the community emerges a winner. This is yet another building block in the resurgence of the area.”
State Senator Tim Kennedy said, “The completion of these townhomes means that more Buffalo residents will have access to high-quality affordable housing that any family would be proud to call home. I want to offer my thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his support of this important project, and to Pastor Michael Chapman for turning this wonderful vision into a reality. These new homes are a game-changer for the neighborhood, and I look forward to seeing even more progress in the near future.”
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, "When government and community based organizations work together it's a win-win. The new town homes bring affordable and energy efficient housing in the heart of the historic Fruit Belt. The project also successfully completed workforce development for the community. "I applaud the community based organizations for coming together and meeting the needs of the Fruit Belt."
County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “These new town homes provide energy-efficient and aesthetically attractive housing right here in one of our areas oldest neighborhoods. The Fruit Belt is undergoing changes as the Medical Campus continues to grow, and thanks to the St. John Fruit Belt Community Development Corp. and our partners in government those changes are bringing contemporary new housing as part of that growth.”
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