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First Niagara provides approximately $19.2 million for Evergreen Loft Apartments


Mon, Jul 25th 2016 04:20 pm

Bank served as construction lender and tax credit equity investor for the rehabbed historic building, which brings 56 affordable apartments to the City of Buffalo

First Niagara Financial Group Inc. announced it is providing approximately $19.2 million in financing and tax credit investment for Evergreen Foundation of Western New York Inc. and Southern Tier Environments for Living Inc.'s (STEL) affordable housing project, the Evergreen Lofts. Located at 392 Genesee St., in downtown Buffalo, the recently completed building will be focused on serving the homeless and chronically ill individuals.

The five-story former warehouse was originally built around the turn of the century. Today, the 64,000-square-foot Evergreen Lofts contains 56 apartments, with half of those units eligible for subsidies through the HUD McKinney Continuum of Care Supportive Housing Program. The majority of the apartments will be one-bedroom units, in addition to four two-bedroom and two three-bedroom units. Residents will also enjoy on-site laundry facilities, a community room with attached kitchen and a private courtyard. Further, the building's tenants will have access to Evergreen's network of supportive services, including medical, mental health, transportation and more.

First Niagara provided an $8.3 million letter of credit financing for the project, in addition to $10.9 million of historic and low income tax credit equity investments. Relationship managers John Berry and Maria Barth executed the underwriting and closing of this transaction.

"As Buffalo's renaissance continues, First Niagara is proud to be a strong financial partner on many of the unique and important development projects underway throughout the city. Perhaps none are more important than the expansion of our city's affordable housing options, providing safe, quality residences to those in need," said Craig Burton, First Niagara senior vice president of commercial real estate. "The Evergreen Lofts are exactly the type of project that ensures Buffalo will continue to be inclusive and vibrant community for many years."

"First Niagara's financing and investment in this project, as well as their team's expertise and guidance, was crucial to its success," said Steven Ald, director of real estate development, Southern Tier Environments for Living Inc. "As a result, we have been able to restore this historic building for the benefit of the neighborhood and the city, and particularly Western New Yorkers who are dealing with chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes and heart disease, mental health challenges and substance abuse, and including those from our local LGBT community. This (project is a) natural extension of our mission of fostering healthy communities by providing medical, supportive and behavioral services to individuals and families in Western New York."

In addition to financing from First Niagara, the project received funding through the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, New York State Housing Finance Agency and Homes for Working Families.

LPCiminelli, which served as general contractor, broke ground on the project last October. SWBR Architects of Rochester was the architect and engineer and historic preservation consulting firm Preservation Studios also contributed to the project.

The Evergreen Foundation raises and manages funds that support the mission, services and programs of the Evergreen Association and its member agencies. The Evergreen Association is a nonprofit, multiagency service group committed to fostering healthy communities throughout Western New York. Its staff practices an intentionally thoughtful approach to delivering improved health outcomes, particularly for individuals and families affected by poverty, addiction, stigma and/or other significant life challenges. To learn more, visit www.evergreenhs.org.

STEL is a private, no-profit agency that provides rehabilitative and support services to people with psychiatric disabilities across Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Erie counties. STEL is committed to helping recipients of services discover their goals and achieve them through progressive treatment and care. To learn more, visit www.stel.org.

First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank with approximately 390 branches, $40 billion in assets, $30 billion in deposits, and approximately 5,300 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.

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