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St. Martin Village Project Underway

Work has started on an effort to bring new housing to the German Catholic Orphanage at 564 Dodge Street.  The multi-faceted development calls for partial demolition, renovation and new construction to create 60 affordable housing units.  The $16.25 million St. Martin Village project is spearheaded by the Community Action Organization of Erie County on a historic property that has been vacant for three decades. 

4664860577_95e62bded2_b.jpgDavid Torke has been documenting the plight of the neglected site for some time (photo above and others can be found here).

Two existing, three-story, rectangular, brick/clay-block towers will be substantially renovated creating 12 two-bedroom apartments in each building.  The circa-1938 chapel will also be incorporated into the plan and will become a community center.  Demolition of the remaining orphanage buildings was approved by the Buffalo Preservation Board. 

DodgeStreet.bmpSix new one and two-story brick structures will be constructed.  Two of the buildings will contain six, four-bedroom units; one building will have six, three-bedroom units; two buildings will have four, three-bedroom units; and one building will contain ten, three-bedroom residences.  All of the units will be affordable for households at or below 50% of area median income.

MartinSitePlan.bmpOxford Consulting Inc. and the University at Buffalo School of Law Clinical Education Program, Affordable Housing Clinic prepared and submitted applications to the various funding sources, assisted with project approvals, and helped with all aspects of the development process.

20859408_7588f1cb54_o.jpgThe prime investor is Key Community Development Corporation, the construction lender is Key Bank, and the permanent lender will be the Community Preservation Corporation.  The City of Buffalo has committed HOME funds in the amount of $2.42 million to the project, $2.4 million is coming from the state Housing Trust Fund Loan Program, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of NY has committed $570,000 through its Affordable Housing Program. 

Belmont Management Company, Inc. will coordinate services to residents, conduct marketing and rent-up activities, and ensure compliance with all funding source requirements.  R & P Oak Hill Development of Hamburg will be involved from the construction side, with the design work performed by Silvestri Architects P.C.

Construction Financing was released on June 1st, allowing commencement of remediation, demolition and site work.

“This site has been vacant for too long and the community has come together to support the redevelopment of this important parcel of land,” says Erie County Legislature Chair Barbara Miller-Williams.

Construction is expected to take twelve months.  Tenants will have an opportunity to purchase their units at the end of the15 year tax credit compliance period.


Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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  • Lego1981

    Question. Why is there going to be parking all around this property? Like ALL AROUND IT? Just like EVERY low income aimed project in this town, parking is right up front, like a suburban mall. For LOW INCOME. Maby that’s why they are in this situation, they spend all of their money on a car? And the city is not helping by putting parking up front, on the side right there saying ‘YOU SHOULD HAVE A CAR’ no matter what your salary is in this city. …..All I got to say is…REALLY????……REALLY????

  • JohnQBuffalo

    The German American Orphanage was a really beautiful brick building. It was a big loss to a declining Humboldt Park area.
    I would have hoped for the reconstruction of the demolished midsection. They would have made really great apartments within walking distance of Humbold Park but that would be to much to ask and Im greatful that the remaining buildings will be preserved and saved.
    If only we could get some attention from an interested developer for St Vincents Orphanage!

  • hamp

    It looks like they’re saving the most significant buildings. That’s great.
    Just wish the new stuff was nicer, and related better in massing and detail to the old.

  • r-k-tekt

    Although I am thrilled that the buildings will not be lost, the site plan is horrendous. There is more parking than a Walmart. Why couldn’t they integrate the parking at least with Dodge St at the bottom of the plan. They have created a ring road. The are along Dodge should be lawn and parking should be along the curb. Instead the buildings become islands like a shopping plaza. It might as well be in cheektowaga

  • LesterCzepnakski

    I wouldn’t expect Ryan Miller to move in there, but more housing for the poor? I keep saying most of the city (most cities in general) is a wasteland with pockets of elite/hip/youth that keep it interesting. There’s a common perception that the city has turned a corner & is heading in the right direction, well it’s better than it was in the 70s & 80s, but it really is still a giant ghetto. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see this building renovated rather than demolished for yet another vacant lot in that area, but the interiors will be stripped & replaced with extra cheap materials, no craftsmanship will be present, and what will they look like in 15 years? I’ll bet ownership won’t exceed 10% in 15.

  • urbanboarder

    I thought this was the orphanage on Ellicott just east of Main Street by Delta Sonic. Disappointing. Given the location, the money should be funneled there, not here. Look at the neighborhood, infrastructure, and proximity to the Kensington Expressway. Completely undesirable.

  • gotime

    Has anyone done the math on 16 million divided by 60 units? 266,666 per unit.

  • LesterCzepnakski

    More like $200,000 into the developer’s pocket, $66,666 into the units (the number of the beast)

  • Dick Kern

    That “Housing Math” makes no sense in a shrinking impoverished city with about 22,000 housing vacancies. Every incredibly costly, taxapayer-subsidized new “affordable” unit being built simply empties another in a struggling neighborhood where much houaing has virtually no value, adding to the endless list of blighted houses awaiting taxpayer-funded demolitions.
    It is politically glitzy, but a developer-driven housing non-policy that is clearly unsustainable.
    A similar example is incredibly costly “Sycamore Village” launched over two years ago, where the real cost of constructing 15 houses in “Phase I” was about $400K each, as the 14th house was finally sold in May for $150K, with no property taxes for 7 years. The 15th house will allegedly be sold soon, two years afer the Mayor proudly announced that Sycamore Village was ‘selling fast’.
    Hopefully “Phase II” has been aborted!
    Richard Kern

  • LesterCzepnakski

    isn’t that just the urban housing game? Another reason why NYS is bankrupt.

  • sbrof

    Love the eves! THis is a great project… but wow.. how come ALL new buildings in Buffalo need to look so dull and pathetic… Great re-use, piss-poor-design of the new construction.

  • skarnath

    Although it’s not a perfect project, it’s an important one for the City. I think it’s the last, best chance to save the remaining buildings on the site.
    I agree with Kern on Sycamore Village – a big mistake, badly executed, but I disagree with him about this project. This is an important part of Buffalo history, & worth preserving. Belmont Management’s involvement will ensure that the project is still in good shape in 15 years.
    I also agree that it appears there is too much parking, particularly in front. It may not be too late to reconsider this issue.

  • sbrof

    Been waiting for the market to fix our problems for years. It’s time to save these buildings now for Buffalo’s future. Thousands of families have connections and ties to them and unfortunately they all turned their backs on them even though they are gorgeous and unique in the city.
    I agree about projects like the sycamore village that it was and is a waste… The city should be investing money into quality of life items not housing in a housing rich city.

  • orphan

    As a former resident of the German Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum, (G.R.C.O.A.), as it was called, I am happy that people are still residing at 565 Dodge Street. I spent many of my boyhood years in that institution. The Fransiscan nuns were great educators and back in the day the Catholic schools had a very high ranking.
    Thanks, Buffalo Rising for this information.