Former elementary school to bring expanded affordable housing to Tonawanda
First Niagara Financial Group Inc. announced it is providing approximately $4.6 million in financing serving as construction lender, permanent lender and low-income housing tax credit equity investor (through Raymond James) for People Inc.'s Highland Avenue Apartments in the City of Tonawanda. In addition, First Niagara, a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, applied for and secured a FHLBNY grant providing additional funding of approximately $182,000 to People Inc.'s project.
People Inc. will use the funding to support the renovation and reuse of the 1920s-era building, which, until 2009, was the site of Highland Elementary School.
Through Highland Avenue Apartments, People Inc.'s 125th housing project in Western New York, the nonprofit human services agency will create 38 affordable housing units, including 15 that will be designed and designated for individuals with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries. The one- and two-bedroom units will rent for between $450 and $650 per month.
"First Niagara is pleased to be able to provide support for this great project and to partner with an organization like People Inc. that shares our vision for a diverse and thriving community," said Alexandra Wehr, First Niagara senior relationship manager for middle market lending. "The Highland Avenue Apartments will be an impactful redevelopment project that will help meet housing needs in our community."
"We were pleased to work with First Niagara on this important project," said Rhonda Frederick, CEO of People Inc. "Their financial support is enabling us to renovate a long-vacant public school and create a safe, quality and more modernized residential space for clients and others in the community."
People Inc. is also receiving $1.9 million in financing from the Homeless Housing and Assistance Corp., $1.4 million from the New York State Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, and $76,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
People Inc. provides programs and services to more than 12,000 people with special needs, their families and seniors throughout Western New York and the Finger Lakes. Since 1971, People Inc. has assisted individuals to achieve greater degrees of independence and productivity. To learn more, visit www.people-inc.org.
First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank N.A., is a multistate community-oriented bank with approximately 390 branches, $40 billion in assets, $29 billion in deposits, and approximately 5,400 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For additional information on First Niagara, visit www.firstniagara.com.