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NYS: Start of construction on $71 million affordable housing development in Buffalo


Thu, May 11th 2023 07:00 am

Rehabilitation of Ellicott Town Center preserves 281 homes, supports state efforts to address needs of east Buffalo

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced construction has begun on the $71 million rehabilitation of the Ellicott Town Center, a decades-old housing development near downtown Buffalo featuring 281 homes located among four high-rise towers and 12 townhomes. The project supports the state's ongoing efforts to address the immediate needs of the east Buffalo community in the wake of the shooting on May 14, 2022.

"We remain committed to uplifting the east Buffalo community, and the preservation and improvement of our affordable housing stock is one of the most important ways we can address systemic social and economic inequalities that continue to impact this community," Hochul said. "The work beginning at Ellicott Town Center will enhance nearly 300 homes and will support our efforts to right the wrongs of the past and build a fairer, more equitable future in Buffalo."

The rehabilitation of the Ellicott Town Center is part of Hochul's $25 billion housing plan designed to create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes across New York, including 10,000 with support services for vulnerable populations, plus the electrification of an additional 50,000 homes.

Hochul’s team said, “Located near Buffalo's downtown, the Ellicott Town Center is within walking distance of many amenities, and is accessible by public transportation. The substantial redevelopment will make both interior and exterior improvements to the buildings, including kitchen and bathroom updates in all apartments, new roofs, windows, siding, sidewalks and enhanced lighting. The improvements are expected to increase the building's efficiency and lead to a 20% energy savings.”

Ellicott Town Center's townhomes, originally constructed in 1998, will continue to be set aside for New Yorkers ages 55 and older. All senior units feature two bedrooms and are affordable to households with incomes at or below 60% of the area median income.

The development's towers, originally built in 1958 and called the Ellicott Mall, feature 72 one-bedroom apartments, 182 two-bedroom units, and three units with four-bedrooms.

Ellicott Town Center's rehabilitation is being developed by Beacon Communities and First Shiloh Development LLC, an affiliate of the First Shiloh Baptist Church, which is located adjacent to the Ellicott Town Center campus.

State financing for the Ellicott Town Center rehabilitation includes $36 million in state and federal low-income housing tax credits, nearly $32 million in tax-exempt housing bonds, and nearly $23 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided $300,000 in support through the Clean Energy Initiative.

Supports Larger Buffalo Revitalization Efforts

Hochul’s team said, “Historic redlining and modern predatory lending practices have significantly destabilized housing in east Buffalo and stymied the ability for individuals, families and the community to build wealth. In the aftermath of last year's white supremacist terrorist attack, Gov. Hochul announced $50 million of targeted investments as part of a continuing effort to address the immediate needs of the east Buffalo community.”

This included:

√ $35 million to assist struggling homeowners in east Buffalo

$20 million for New York State Homes and Community Renewal and the Department of Taxation and Finance to serve up to 4,000 homeowners in need of tax, water and sewage arrears assistance

√ $10 million to serve up to 1,000 homeowners with homes in need of serious repairs

√ $4.5 million to serve up to 150 homeowners who will have access to down payment assistance

New York State HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "The overdue rehabilitation and modernization of Ellicott Town Center will improve the quality of life for hundreds of residents while also contributing to the city's continued growth by preserving much-needed affordable housing for the region. We thank Gov. Hochul for her ongoing commitment to revitalizing Buffalo, and to our partners at Beacon and the First Shiloh Baptist Church for working alongside us to strengthen this community."

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "With the completion of the Ellicott Town Center home, Buffalo residents will now have greater access to safe, highly efficient, and resilient affordable housing with numerous state-of-the-art features that provide a healthy and comfortable living environment."

Congressman Brian Higgins said, "Like much of the country, New York state is experiencing an affordable housing crisis, and Western New York is not immune. Thanks to state and federal tax credits, we are working to meet our community's critical housing needs. Long-overdue renovations to Ellicott Town Center will provide hundreds of seniors with the safe, affordable and sustainable housing they deserve. This announcement signals progress as we continue efforts to help Buffalo heal."

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, "The announced $70.5 million rehabilitation of the Ellicott Town Center is a welcome addition to Buffalo's eastside. While there will be temporary displacement during construction, I am thrilled that all 281 current tenants will have modernized, energy-efficient, clean, secure, dignified housing. I'd like to thank Gov. Hochul and NYS Housing and Community Renewal for making this possible, while also congratulating the residents, First Shiloh Development LLC and Beacon Communities."

New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy said, "For nearly three decades, Ellicott Town Center has served as a place to call home for residents in the City of Buffalo, but as expected, time has taken a toll, and repairs and significant improvements are needed to restore this development to its fullest potential. I'm proud to see this state investment move forward, and I firmly believe it will enhance the quality of life of the many residents within this complex and our surrounding community."

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "With construction starting today, Ellicott Town Center tenants will soon have a brighter future and affordable housing units – with many modern upgrades. Special thanks to Gov. Kathy Hochul for her continued effort to address the immediate needs of the east Buffalo community in the aftermath of 5.14, as well the strong collaboration between community-based organizations, religious institutions, and multiple levels of government and private sector investments. Providing city tenants and residents with quality and affordable housing will continue to advance our efforts to create a hope-filled city with an exciting future."

James Williams, president of First Shiloh Housing Corporations said, "After many years of planning for this day, we are extraordinarily grateful and proud to see it finally come to pass. This project exemplifies all that First Shiloh aims to achieve. It will both stabilize and enrich our community by preserving affordable housing long into the future. We appreciate the widespread support First Shiloh and the residents of the community have received and the opportunity to work collaboratively with such a broad range of partners."

Beacon Communities CEO Dara Kovel said, "The City of Buffalo has been through an extremely challenging time, so it's incredibly gratifying to be able to celebrate a project that invests in the future and will have a positive impact for years to come. This long-awaited renovation will improve residents' quality of life enabling them to continue living in, and contributing to, the community that they know and love. Beacon is proud to partner with First Shiloh Housing Corporations and our many public and private sector partners to bring this important undertaking to fruition. We look forward to expanding our efforts to deliver high-quality, affordable, and sustainable housing to tenants across Western New York and the rest of the state."

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