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Images provided by BMHA
Images provided by BMHA

BMHA, development team unveil architectural renderings for phase one of revitalized Marine Drive Apartments


Wed, Jul 26th 2023 09:25 pm

Plans call for pair of 12-story residential buildings to bookend three-floor townhouse structure offering nearly 300 modern, affordable housing units

More than 100 Marine Drive Apartments residents turned out Tuesday evening to view the first architectural renderings and interior layouts for the first phase of the new-build development.

Phase one of the transformative project, which will be built on the development’s surface parking lot, features a pair of 12-story towers, which bookend a row of two-story townhouses.

The 362,000-square-foot complex will include 296 apartments, a five-story parking garage, and three commercial spaces.

BMHA Executive Director Gillian D. Brown said, “From its inception, we have purposely relied on a resident-driven design process for this once-in-a-lifetime project that will preserve and expand affordable housing on the Buffalo waterfront. The extremely positive resident reaction to the designs they saw at last night’s open house reinforced our mission to create a new Marine Drive Apartments that will make residents proud of where they live while building housing that truly fits the burgeoning Canalside neighborhood.”

Jeff Head, vice president of development, The Habitat Co., Habitat Affordable Group, said, “It was great to see resident reaction to the designs. The open house builds on an interactive, community-focused design process and the sessions we held earlier this year. The designs provide a vision for a pedestrian-oriented community that is integrated into the larger Buffalo waterfront with a mix of high- and low-rise buildings, and both residential and commercial uses.”

Construction on the $225 million first phase of the multiphase project will get underway in late 2024, with completion in 2026. Construction of the second and third phases is slated to start in 2027, and 2029, respectively.

As each phase is completed, residents will relocate from their current apartments directly to their new units. The price tag for the multiphase redevelopment will top $400 million.

All current Marine Drive residents in good standing will have an opportunity to move into the new buildings. The existing, 72-year-old Marine Drive towers have 616 units; when complete, the all-new development will have more than 730 apartments.

“The BMHA and Mayor Byron Brown and his development staff share the belief that living on Buffalo’s waterfront should be an option for all residents, regardless of their income level,” Brown said. “We believe what we’re doing at Marine Drive will be a model for other Great Lakes cities where public housing was purposely built on industrial waterfronts because nobody else wanted to live there. As these urban waterfronts are becoming extremely desirable places to live, work and visit, affordable housing must be part of that transition.”

Key features of phase one include:

√ Unit sizes are much larger than existing apartments; for example, a current one-bedroom unit is 502 square-feet, and the new one bedrooms will be 725 square-feet. Two bedrooms will be 943 square-feet, up from 693. Three bedrooms will be 1,150 square-feet, up from 907, and the four-bedroom, two-level townhouses, will be 1,515, up from 1,100.

√ All apartments will be handicap accessible.

√ The complex will have community rooms on the top floor of each tower with outdoor patio space, as well as one lobby-level community area.

√ The buildings will have central air conditioning, and residents will have control of their unit’s heating and cooling.

√ There will be laundry rooms on each floor of the towers, and in-unit washers and dryers in the family townhouses.

√ The development will have a pedestrian-friendly layout with grid-pattern streets that connect to the surrounding neighborhood,

√ There will be multiple greenspaces, an inclusive playground, and extensive landscaping.

Next steps for the project include the permitting approval process, which will take place this fall. The BMHA and its development team will also continue working with various federal, state and local governments on funding for brownfield remediation of the parking lot, as well as with potential public and private funding partners.

The Habitat Co., Duvernay + Brooks LLC, and Urban Design Associates were picked to lead the redevelopment of Marine Drive in 2020, following a national “request for qualification” and extensive vetting by the BMHA and the city’s Office of Strategic Development.

The BMHA also selected teams to redevelop its Commodore Perry and Shaffer Village developments comprising the largest housing development initiative in Buffalo’s history, with investment exceeding $1 billion.

Images provided by BMHA

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