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Pennrose, the firm selected to transform the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority’s circa-1939 Commodore Perry development into a modern, affordable housing community, updated the board of commissioners on the project’s design on Monday.
Pennrose Regional Vice President Dylan Salmons and Senior Developer William D’Avella walked the commissioners through the planning process, which began in late 2020, and has included several resident engagement and stakeholder sessions.
“After more than a year of community engagement, we are excited to partner with the BMHA to transform the long-vacant, blighted Commodore Perry public housing complex into a vibrant, mixed-use community where residents with a variety of incomes will thrive,” Salmons said. “Our plans for the site include 1,000 brand-new apartments with modern features, outdoor amenity space, commercial and retail space.”
The project will kick off with the demolition of the remaining 284 vacant apartments located between Louisiana and Hamburg streets, bordered by the I-190 to the north and South Park Avenue to the south.
The start of demolition took a major leap forward on Monday with an announcement by New York State’s Empire Development Corp. that the City of Buffalo will receive $4 million in Restore NY funds on behalf of the BMHA to pay for demolition effort. Earlier this year, the city was granted $1 million from the same program to help cover demolition costs.
BMHA Executive Director Gillian D. Brown said, “This additional funding from Restore NY is a game-changer. These two awards, totaling $5 million, are a direct result of the extraordinary cooperation among the city, state of New York, and the BMHA. This will mean the demolition of the vacant Perry units can start even sooner, hopefully by the end of 2023.”
Once the Commodore Perry Homes footprint is cleared, construction will begin on 405 housing units in a mix of townhouses and multifamily homes. The affordable housing structures, filled with modern amenities, including in-unit washers and dryers, as well as direct access to green space, will be laid out in an entirely new configuration.
A key change will be an emphasis on connections to the surrounding Old First Ward neighborhood, highlighted by residences and retail situated along South Park Avenue.
Residents will move into their brand-new apartments in 2027, with overhaul of the Perry towers and rowhouses also underway. The price tag for the full Perry revitalization, which will include more than 1,000 apartments, is expected to top $450 million.
In other action, the commissioners approved:
√ A three-year contract with Time Warner Cable/Spectrum for internet services, including installation of an emergency back-up site for BMHA computer, internet and Wi-Fi capabilities for 29 community rooms and centers across the BMHA. Under the contract, at a cost not to exceed $450,000, both bandwidth and speed will see major increases.
√ Award of a $924,500 contract with Occhino Corp. for parking lot and sidewalk improvements at Holling Homes.
√ A three-year contract extension with CVR Associates to administer the BMHA’s Section 8 housing choice voucher program and Rental Assistance Demonstration program.
√ An $80,298 increase in annual contract with Bugs & More pest control.
√ A $36,334 contract with J.W. Danforth for air conditioning service at Stuyvesant Apartments management office.