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Hochul: $76 million affordable housing development and fresh food market in Buffalo's central business district


Thu, Oct 21st 2021 08:40 pm

201 Ellicott creates 201 affordable apartments, 22,000-square-foot grocery in transit-oriented neighborhood

√ Development constructed on remediated brownfield

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a new, $76 million development with 201 mixed-income affordable homes and a brand-new, 22,000-square-foot fresh food market will open soon in Buffalo. 201 Ellicott was constructed on an underutilized city-owned surface parking lot in Buffalo's central business district after undergoing brownfield remediation.

"Creating and securing affordable housing is a cornerstone of building thriving communities, and my administration is committed to making the investments necessary to make those efforts a reality," Hochul said. "This project, which will create hundreds of affordable units in the heart of Buffalo's central business district, is the latest example of this work and represents a major step forward in achieving a flourishing Buffalo."

The residential building at 201 Ellicott features 131 one-bedroom apartments and 70 two-bedroom apartments. Most apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 60% of the area median income, while 44 apartments are affordable to households earning up to 80% of the AMI.

Building amenities include a community room with kitchenette, a gym, a laundromat on each floor, an on-site transit shelter, and a bicycle storage area with a bicycle repair station. The building also houses the City of Buffalo's first mobility hub, offering multimodal transportation solutions to residents through GO Buffalo Niagara.

Outdoor amenities include a landscaped and furnished recreational space and access to an on-site Reddy Bike station.

The property includes a standalone market that offers affordable fresh food, prepared foods in a café setting, catering, wholesale and seasonal items. The project is also near the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library and numerous restaurants and entertainment venues, among other downtown resources and attractions.

The developer is Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. Apartment leasing activities are currently underway and being coordinated by Belmont Housing.

In 2015, the City of Buffalo sought proposals to redevelop the 380-unit surface parking lot bounded by Ellicott, Oak, Clinton streets and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority's metropolitan transportation center in the central business district. The property was deemed a brownfield and required remediation and cleanup through the state's brownfield cleanup program.

State financing for the residential development includes $10.5 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, federal and state low-income housing tax credits, which generated $21.8 million in equity, and $19.1 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. HCR also provided $5.5 million in financing for the commercial building. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation awarded Brownfield tax credits that generated $12 million in equity.

HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Buffalo's central business district is markedly improved by the addition of the 201 Ellicott. The $76 million, 201-apartment development moves us closer to the state's carbon reduction goals by replacing a surface parking lot with a transit-oriented development, and incorporating a fresh food market that provides easy access to groceries. When our downtowns become places where people can comfortably live, walk or bike to work, the local economy is lifted, and the environment is improved."

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "New York's brownfield cleanup program is advancing the rebirth of communities across the state by returning hundreds of underutilized properties back to productive use, creating new housing and employment opportunities. The 201 Ellicott Street Apartments project, built on a former brownfield in Buffalo's central business district, is successfully delivering new affordable apartments to the neighborhood, along with convenient access to fresh food from the brand-new Braymiller Market. DEC is proud to have played a role on this transformative project, which will energize the local economy and improve quality of life for this community."

Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. President and CEO Paul Ciminelli said, "This project is a testament to the vision and determination of all involved. We have collectively transformed what was once a surface parking lot into a vibrant and connected destination within the downtown core. Housing, food, commerce and mobility all come together right here at 201 Ellicott, providing an important milestone in the ongoing work to grow our city."

201 Ellicott is part of the state's $20 billion, five-year housing plan to make housing accessible and to combat homelessness by building or preserving more than 100,000 affordable homes and 6,000 homes with supportive services. Since 2011, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested more than $307 million in Buffalo, which has created or preserved more than 3,200 affordable homes.

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