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Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Announces Start of Construction on Riverside Apartments in Buffalo

$3.25 million WNYREDC award will generate over $21 million in local economic activity
(November 14, 2012)

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Announces Start of Construction on Riverside Apartments in Buffalo

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) announced that workers broke ground on Riverside Apartments in Buffalo today on the strength of a $3.25 million award it received as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative. The project will construct 68 units of affordable housing, while creating over 350 local construction jobs and 40 new, permanent jobs. The funds awarded by the WNYREDC will generate more than $21 million in economic activity for the region.

“Quality, affordable housing is key to fostering vibrant communities and is the foundation of a strong regional economy,” said Satish K. Tripathi, President, University at Buffalo and WNYREDC Co-chair. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we are building steadily on this foundation. The Riverside Apartments project is an outstanding example of that progress in action, providing hardworking families in the Black Rock community with sustainable, energy-efficient housing while revitalizing a historic Buffalo neighborhood.”

“The Regional Council made the right decision to support Riverside Apartments – it creates hundreds of much-needed jobs, generates over $21 million in local economic activity, and establishes quality, affordable housing for those who need it most,” Howard A. Zemsky, Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group and WNYREDC Co-chair. “Governor Cuomo has given us tools to revitalize our communities and get our economy back on the right track. This project is a clear demonstration of how the Regional Council protects and maximizes limited State resources through public-private partnerships to move projects forward that benefit the hardworking people of Western New York.”

Darryl C. Towns, Commissioner/CEO of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, “Riverside Apartments puts a vacant historic property back to use as a vibrant home for Buffalo residents that will spark growth and revitalize the Black Rock neighborhood. Awards made through Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils are stimulating local economies throughout New York as more and more projects come to life around the state. I congratulate DePaul Properties, the City of Buffalo, all of our partners—and especially the people who will soon make Riverside their home.”

Riverside Apartments will be developed and managed by DePaul Properties, which will transform the vacant, historic Public School No. 60 in the Black Rock neighborhood of Buffalo into affordable, energy-efficient apartments for low-income people and those with special needs. Forty five units will house NYS Office of Mental Health consumers and will receive ongoing support services from Living Opportunities of DePaul, Inc. All units will be equipped with sustainable features including Energy Star-rated appliances and lighting, water-conserving fixtures, and low or no VOC paints and green label certified flooring. Amenities include common laundry facilities, computer lab, and outdoor garden space.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “This $20 million renovation will not only provide much needed housing for Riverside residents, but will also create many good construction jobs for our community. We worked closely with residents in the Black Rock neighborhood to secure $1.5 million in city HOME funds, enabling this important affordable housing project, located in the heart of a vibrant residential neighborhood, to leverage the additional funding needed to move forward, including an award from New York State Homes and Community Renewal and Governor Cuomo’s Western New York Regional Economic Development Council.”

Gillian Conde, Vice-President of DePaul Key Housing said, “DePaul is very excited to see the Black Rock community strengthen from investment into housing by New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the Western New York Regional Economic Council, as well as Buffalo’s Mayor Brown. Community renewal begins in our neighborhoods. The transformation of former PS #60 into affordable housing brings needed housing along with jobs and economic development into a neighborhood that has a committed and active community. Bringing this beautiful building back to life in this community is an excellent example of reinvestment and commitment to city of Buffalo and New Yorkers everywhere.”

Last year, a total of $785 million was awarded through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans. As part of that process, Riverside Apartments was awarded $3.25 million from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. In addition to an award from the WNYREDC, funding is provided by the New York State Office of Mental Health, Community Preservation Corporation, and the City of Buffalo.

The Low-Income Housing Credit Program (LIHC) 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 up to 60% of area median income. The amount of LIHC available to project owners is directly related to the number of low-income housing units that they provide. The Housing Trust Fund Program provides funding to eligible applicants to construct low-income housing, rehabilitate vacant, distressed or underutilized residential property, or convert vacant, underutilized non-residential property to residential use by low-income tenants.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) 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.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “This project is a good example of how the WNYREDC is having a positive impact on Buffalo and Erie County. This investment will create jobs, spur more economic development in our area, and strengthen our community. I want to thank Governor Cuomo and the Council for their vision and leadership on this project.”

Senator Mark Grisanti said, “I applaud the WNYREDC for providing the resources to help transform a vacant school building in the Black Rock neighborhood of Buffalo into affordable, energy efficient apartments for low-income and special needs people. This type of grant is essential to our community as it creates both temporary and long term jobs as well as offers much needed housing for an important population group. With today’s groundbreaking, we are taking one more step in the economic revitalization of the region.” Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, “Projects like this show the importance of the Regional Economic Development Council approach. A $3 million investment will be turned into $21 million in economic activity for Western New York, creating hundreds of new jobs including 40 permanent jobs. My thanks go to Governor Cuomo for his leadership in creating the REDC process. I look forward to continued good news as the REDC invests in projects that lead to new jobs and benefit our regional economy.”

Buffalo North District Council Member Joseph Golombek, Jr. said, “It is projects such as these that speak to the continued viability and future resurgence of our neighborhood. My hope is that a project such as this will act as a catalyst for future developments. My thanks to Governor Cuomo’s Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, DePaul, and Mayor Brown for this significant investment in Riverside and its residents. Thanks also to the Black Rock Riverside Good Neighbor Planning Alliance and Rediscover Riverside for their tireless efforts on behalf of our community.”

Mary Ann Kedron, President of Black Rock Riverside Alliance said, “School 60 has been an important part of the Riverside Community for over 100 years. We are so pleased that through our hard work we could make others see this beautiful building as an ongoing community asset. We could not be more pleased that this building will once again house individuals from our community in a new progressive way. We wish to thank the Mayor, our Councilman, the city, state, and federal government for their support. We have learned that it takes strong partnerships to build strong communities.”

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