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Funding Secured for Livery Rehab

It took some time and patience from both the developer and neighborhood residents, but work to create a 14-unit apartment building at the White’s Livery site at 428 Jersey Street is a significant step closer to starting.  Developer Sam Savarino is teaming with West Side Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. on the $3.4 million project.  The development received $2.1 million in funding from the NYS HOME Program last week allowing the reuse project to proceed.

The project is a victory for neighborhood residents who stepped in to stop an emergency demolition by the City after bricks started cascading from the neglected property in 2008.  Residents successfully lobbied the City to save the structure’s front and rear facades and distinctive tower.  Savarino’s plans call for new construction within the building’s remaining walls.

livery21.bmpUnits will range in size from 700 sq.ft. for a one-bedroom apartment to 1,025 sq.ft. and two bedrooms. 

Twelve enclosed parking spaces will be provided on the ground floor along with laundry facilities.  Plans for two parking spaces in front of the building have been dropped after neighbors raised concerns at a Zoning Board hearing.  Revised plans show landscaping along Jersey Street.

Due to funding restrictions, the fourteen units must be rented at an affordable level.  These will not be low-income apartments, rents are determined by income levels in the immediate neighborhood.  The gross rents (rent plus utilities) will range from $600 to $715 a month and will be affordable to nine households with incomes at or below 50 percent of the area median income, and five households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the area median income.  Two units will be fully-accessible units for persons with mobility impairments and three will be accessible units for persons with a hearing or vision impairment.

Project financing is through the NYS HOME Program, City of Buffalo, Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program, NYS RESTORE Program, and private equity.

The development team consists of West Side Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. (CHDO) as developer and management agent, Oxford Consulting as housing consultant, Savarino Construction as general contractor, and Stieglitz Snyder Architecture as architect.  Upon completion, the project will be owned by White’s Livery Apartments HDFC, Inc.

In all, Governor David A. Paterson Thursday announced $119 million in housing and community renewal awards to help communities across the State develop affordable housing, revitalize downtowns, and upgrade water and sewer systems.livery20.bmpGet Connected: Savarino Cos., 716.332.5959

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  1. Nice project! Not every rental has to be $1500/ mo.! we need a mix of afforadable and high end; and i think this caters to young professionals, as well as families. Way to go in getting this done.

  2. The roof at the top of that tower is a real lost opportunity. How nice it would have been to make it some sort of rooftop porch with screened windows where tenants could sit out and enjoy the views.
    That is one thing about Buffalo…no real estate developer or property owner cares about the value added of their rooftops.
    In any other city there are outdoor running tracks and gyms on the roof, there are bars and restaurants, there are just simple gardens to sit out and enjoy the breeze…but here in Buffalo no thought is given for the value of a rooftop view.
    Shame really…its something that suburbs cant compete and people pay to have at their disposal.

  3. I’ve always wondered the same thing… why very few apt/condo buildings in Buffalo have rooftop patios? I assume it costs more to design a flat roof (as you’d have to carry much more weight in the winter with snow sitting up there instead of sliding off)… and perhaps the developers just don’t want to be put out of pocket up front any more than they already are, despite their ability to upcharge on rents?
    I think it also speaks to the abundance of public green space in Buffalo. In bigger cities like Boston, parks and public greenspace are tougher to come by and are usually crowded. But here in Buffalo most poeple are a 5 min walk to a park that can be their own peaceful outdoor retreat. So the premium that developers can charge for rooftop access isn’t as much here in Buffalo. While a rooftop patio might fetch $200-300 more per month in Boston, what could you really charge for it here… $50?
    Back to the Livery… so happy for this to progress. The people in the Cottage District did a great job keeping this building alive, and it was getting a little sad to see the front facade behind a chain link fence with graffiti starting to appear.

  4. What would you fill that space with then? Just grass? Flower beds? Pave it over with concrete or asphalt? I normally agree with you about useless berms planted with dinky little juniper shrubs, but the existing building is already set back quite a bit from the sidewalk. I’d rather see some landscaping there than the existing concrete pavement.

  5. Anyone know who the principles are at White’s Livery Apartments HDFC, Inc.? Does anyone else ever have a problem with giving “someone” 2.1 million on a 3.4 million project? I always have trouble giving developers millions of dollars and in this case almost 2/3 the cost of the project. 2.1 million for one project? How much good would that do for a whole neighborhood if it were given out in low interest loans for restoration work? I realize having the Livery mess fixed up and looking nice is a great asset for that particular neighborhood. With the gardeners that are in that area I think a pocket park would have cost less.

  6. It’s a little unclear from the article whether the NYS HOME Program is “giving” the project $2.1 million cash, or merely providing a loan/financing.
    I don’t have a problem with public funds being used to make the reuse of historic buildings financially level with building new housing on some exurban greenfield. Beyond that, though, I agree that the developer should be providing their own funding just like any other project.
    I never understand why these things are so damn expensive though. This one is over $240,000 per unit. Is it the cost of the 12 parking spaces? Is it the requirement to be handicapped accessible? Is it the high cost of construction labor? It seems like there is a fundamental disconnect economically between the cost of building housing and the income levels of the expected tenants.

  7. I’m with you, my partner and I have invested a couple million into that very neighborhood in the last 18 years plus and we average out around $60,000 for the 2 of us to live on and we live I think well but we are not big spenders or drinkers.
    These folks make in the 6 figures and on my tax $’s, we’ve never asked for one Government $ yet yearly our assessments are increased and we have to spend time and money to challenge these unfair practices. Now I do have to admit that there seems to be a better educated group running the office in the city than previous years. If you only new the assessments of some of these corporations that don’t even live in the city let alone the county it would tick you off.
    Please explain to me how I am supposed to buy a building that is slated for Demo and fix it and rent it and compete with this? $242,847.143 per unit and rent it for what ($600 – $715) I don’t believe America was started for this!!!!!

  8. once again…my suggestion to use empty lots for off street parking is proof that people living in the city want off street parking.
    Architects and developers should pay attention to the Livery with regard to urban infill:
    1) built to the sidewalk
    2) historic frontage with alot of architectural detail
    3) garage door in front with interior parking on the first floor (or basement).
    4) walkable community in close proximity to Elmwood, downtown and Grant.
    One has to wonder why does infill in Buffalo have to be so expensive? Why does it ignore what people want?

  9. You don’t need to fill space. You need to create space. Too often shrubs are plopped in front of a building as a knee jerk reaction with no thought as to what they are doing, what is the inteneded result. The base of a buildings does not need to automatically be decocrated with shrubs. They don’t need to be shroweded from view like Addam after Eve did her thing.

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