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Thirty Townhouses Planned on E. Ferry Street

True Bethel Baptist Church, Belmont Housing Resources, and Creative Structures Services are teaming up to construct a 30 unit residential development at 858 E. Ferry Street.  The $6.6 project is contingent on receiving financial assistance from the NYS Department of Housing and Community Renewal.  It would be built on a remediated former industrial site in the Delavan-Grider neighborhood, across from True Bethel church, and provide housing for families whose household income is less than 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).

True Bethel Townhomes involves the construction of four multi-family residential buildings and a community center on a 2.94-acre site.  There will be 10 two-bedroom units, 14 three-bedroom units, and six, four-bedroom units and parking for 72 cars.  Five of the residences will be ADA-accessible while the remaining 25 units will be handicap adaptable.  Design features of accessible units include roll-in showers, lowered countertops, lever-type faucets and door handles, tilt mirrors in bathrooms, and visual door bells and fire alarms.  Entrances to accessible units will be at-grade with automatic door openers.  Silvestri Architects is designing the project.

858FerryC.pngUnit amenities and finishes include carpeting throughout bedrooms and living dining areas, vinyl flooring in kitchens and bathrooms, drapery rods and/or mini blinds, energy efficient ranges/ovens and refrigerators, ample storage closets in bedrooms, and central air conditioning.  Design features of units and residential buildings have also been incorporated to increase resource efficiency, reduce environmental impacts, and provide long-term cost savings.  An initial review by the development team’s Green Build Expert suggests True Bethel Townhomes will exceed minimum performance standards in the LEED for Homes Program and achieve Silver Certification.

858FerrySitePlan.pngThe community center features a site management office, community room with full kitchen, laundry facilities, a computer room with internet access, and an activity room.  A service coordinator will provide tenants with assistance in locating services from other agencies, assist tenants in completing forms, and other services to promote their economic and healthy wellbeing.  Regular life-skills workshops will also be held, including presentations on financial fitness, budgeting, and how to establish and properly use credit.
True Bethel Townhomes will also feature ample green space augmented by landscaping features to increase aesthetic appeal.  Features will complement existing land uses adjacent to the development site.  Exterior patios with furniture and a children’s play area will be provided near the community building for resident outdoor recreation.

Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, applicant, developer, and management agent, will acquire the site, obtain financing, coordinate all members of the development team, and supervise construction. The selected General Contractor for the development is Creative Structures Services, Inc.-aka CSS Construction; who is a local Buffalo owned general contractor/Construction Manager firm with significant multifamily experience.  Belmont Housing Resources for WNY will also market, rent-up, and manage through the project’s extended use period.  True Community Development Corp will be a co-developer in the project and obtain financing for the project. 

The Buffalo Common Council signed-off on designating the group as preferred developer of the property last month.  The Department of Housing and Community Renewal will announce grant awards in August.  If successful, work on the project will start next spring.


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  • pampiniform

    Why not?

  • jag

    Could someone clear this up for me: wouldn’t “less than 60 percent of the Area Median Income” in Buffalo be eligible for Sec. 8 housing assistance? Why would separate housing need to be built specifically for low income families in this area?

  • James

    Because there clearly aren’t enough projects, err townhouses, in this city.

  • hamp

    Why would the Church and its development company think so poorly of the neighborhood and prospective residents to propose this piece of junk?
    The design is right out of the 1940’s failed low rise housing projects that were dismal failures.
    That this future slum is being supported by the Department of “Community Renewal” is a cruel joke.
    Shame on True Bethel for such a cynical and outdated approach to housing the poor.

  • derby98

    Would this TAX PAYER project be better spent on fixing up older city houses before they are burned down instead of building new. When I see this I wonder about donating my assets and going onto the cities tab, section 8 housing, free telephone, heat, electric, health care, child support, food.

  • charger

    Sure the design is unimaginative and completely banal, but that’s to be expected (especially if you hire Silvestri). What I don’t understanding is why, with all the shovel ready sites in residential areas around the City they’d build residential units on a “remediated former industrial site.” Hickory Woods, anyone?

  • flyguy

    So you want to build a nicer even more expensive subsidized housing project so the taxpayers can have an even bigger bill subsidizing someone else’s housing? Must be nice to get a 100K unit for a fraction of the price when everyone else has to play the game and pay in full with interest.

  • JM

    Am I reading that right, 30 Units = 72 parking spots?

  • buffalofalling

    Because its Buffalo. Follow the money, see who is involved on the design, construction, and management and ultimately PROFIT from these projects.
    Arguments about aesthetics and what qualifies as worthwhile housing for low income families shows ignorance. People who will live here don’t care about what it looks like, its a home that has to function and meet their needs. Only the BRO crowd is high enough on the hierachy of needs to give a sh!t or focus on aesthetics.
    Let me say this…. design-based solutions DO NOT WORK. They never have and they never will. That goes for the green code too. They’re politically easy to implement because they play to people’s desire for beauty and order but they fail miserable as a policy tool. Once this $2.1 million dollar green code is implemented, are jobs magically goint to appear? Are developers miraculously going to start investing in a poltically corrupt, nepotistic, partonistic city? Will poverty be eradicated? Will the thousands of vacant homes disappear? NO! It’ll be the same exact city operating the same exact structure with the same exact leaders with the same entrenched employees.

  • JSmith

    $220,000 per unit seems awfully high for what should be basic no-frill apartments. I don’t understand why housing construction costs are so out of whack with the realities of what tenants can afford.
    I imagine the parking lots are adding significantly to the price (minimum parking requirements in zoning codes have made affordable housing very difficult to build in many cities). Not to mention that perhaps people making below 60% of the median income (according to Wikipedia that would be under $15,000/yr) would be able to more easily make ends meet if they weren’t expected and encouraged to have 2.5 cars per household. Given that each car costs on average about $8000/yr to own and maintain, according to AAA.

  • flyguy

    I need to clarify that yes there is value in helping others, those down and out for awhile going through a rough patch, those who have worked all their life and are now elderly on a fixed income, and those who have become injured or sick. Admittedly life happens and sometimes life just sucks. The problem is the subsidized lifestyle from birth to the grave. We ought not be subsidizing someone who does nothing to improve him/ herself, drops out of school, learns from a friend or family how to work the system over, pops out baby after baby and just lives off the taxpayer. Its a problem and I think a growing problem. We might not need so many subsidized projects if the subsidized lifestylers would change their ways.

  • Arch

    Lets stock pile our poor, in (brand new) town homes on a brown field, in the middle of an industrial zone, with no pedestrian access. Haven’t we played this card already? haven’t we torn down enough of these to know that this is not a sound practice? frustrating…

  • JSmith

    I agree to some extent about subsidizing generational poverty, but part of the problem is that there aren’t enough basic jobs for everyone who needs one. We outsourced so many of them to places like Mexico and China.
    So it’s not just the “subsidized lifestylers” needing to “change their ways”. For many, there’s really nothing available to change their ways to.

  • Travelrrr

    This is so, so disgusting and disturbing. From a church that is also a developer, to the segregation to the fact that there are salvageable homes that are letting rot on the East Side, which would be much more cost-efficient to restore……to placing our poor on such a cold industrial site to, yes, the welfare state….

  • The Kettle

    I agree with this. There are plenty of less isolated development sites in existing neighborhoods that would allow better bus, pedestrian, and bike access. This location would be better suited for commercial-industrial development or just green space.

  • WhatRUSmoking

    I would love to know how much of that $6.6 million goes to “management” costs vs. construction.
    The church milks the system to build the housing, and then teaches that same mentality to the next generation:
    “A service coordinator will provide tenants with assistance in locating services from other agencies, assist tenants in completing forms, and other services to promote their economic and healthy wellbeing. Regular life-skills workshops will also be held, including presentations on financial fitness, budgeting, and how to establish and properly use credit.”
    If they want to promote economic health and well being – how about teaching residents how to act, dress, talk, interview, get a GED, or other skills that would be useful in getting a job and being a responsible human being?

  • skybox

    I think it is a great project. New LEED compliant buildings with new amenities and air conditioning in a struggling part of the city that most of you never go near. True Bethel has a proven track record of sound property managment and creating pocket communities in the city.
    I don’t see much of a difference between building these projects for the less advantaged and building lofts in the Larkin distict for middle class white guys.
    If there are so many houses available then let the middle class white guys buy them and fix them up because they have the means to get a mortgage and to pay for repairs. The future tenants of these fine apartmets may not be so fortunate.

  • KeepItSimple

    I suggest that occupants get ironclad covenants so that the neighborhood will not be threatened a la McCarley Gardens.

  • johnnywalker

    Your point is well taken. You don’t hear many complaints about all those lofts receiving tax credits.

  • skybox

    That church has done more for the people of east Buffalo than most other groups combined. Why not say the same thing about other developers who are building new developments? What about the new condos on W. Utica? What about all the new lofts? Why build them when there are houses rotting on in east Buffalo?

  • Transplant that Left

    Great concept….but whose thought process is behind this….really with a projected cost of over 200K per unit, and expected funding from the gov’t, obviously there was not a lot of thought behind this, with the fed cutting HEAP, SECTION 8, and various other human services programs, you expect to get funding for this! Good grief wouldn’t it just be cheaper to build more housing similar to those on William Street with a cost per unit of about a 100K and subsidize the mortgages and help with down payments instead of building PROJECTS.

  • Lego1981

    Why is more crap being approved??? The entire East Side is starting to looking like nothing BUT plastic crap. What about building living spaces that actually look appealing? These designs look like something you’ll see in an Atlanta suburb (circa 1980).

  • Travelrrr

    Because the church, as we both know, is meant to be a not-for-profit, tax exempt organization. However, those lines seem to get blurry with Stenhouse et al in the picture.
    I am all for adaptive reuse, whether it be on the East Side or Downtown, before we subsidize newbuilds that are a) crappy and b) don’t make economic sense. So, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  • Travelrrr

    Because, don’t you know that the East Side doesn’t matter? We wrote it off years and years ago. And, ANY development is GOOD development, right? And, the church ONLY has the interest of those disadvantaged at heart, right?

  • KangDangaLang

    …….because they are not subsidizing people who make poor choices!

  • jdalton

    First off, I am so sick of racially coded “development” language that’s thrown around by the commenters here.
    Secondly, I have two problems with this new development. As some folks have previously said — this is was a highly contaminated site before its “remediation,” which worries me immensely. Additionally, this site is directly above the buried Scajaquada Creek, which is supposed to be nearly all public right-of-way — how the hell did they get around that?
    That said, True Bethel is to be commended for all of the amazing work that they do. I don’t see you naysayers doing anything for the East Side.

  • saltecks

    What a lame racist comment.

  • KangDangaLang

    How is that racist, its people like you who make a comment like that a racist one.

  • KangDangaLang

    Reread SKYBOX’s comment and tell me how my comment was racist? I say that we shouldnt be subsidizing peoples poor choices and I get labeled as a racist. Yet SKYBOX who says…..
    “If there are so many houses available then let the middle class white guys buy them and fix them up because they have the means to get a mortgage and to pay for repairs.”
    Gets off scott free and even gets a positive comment from JOHNNYWALKER, what a joke.If SKYBOX’s comment doesnt bleed stereotypes I dont know what does? Im sure those middle class “white guys” have a magic money tree that their income comes from. It wasnt hard work, education, parenting, and good decision making that makes allows them to have disposable income. The church should spend less time trying to make money off of development business, and more money trying to educate the black’s on how to become better parents, and actually sticking around when their children are born. Over 70 percent of black children are born out of wedlock, which has a huge effect on how you are raised and the type of moral values you obtain. So the moral of the story is….less condos more condoms (oh that was a good one).

  • Buffalo All Star

    $6.6 mill for this project?? Realistically (out to the members of the construction/renovation industry) what would it cost to renovate a 3 bedroom one bath AVERAGE (you define it) Buffalo home? East/West/North/South.. whatever..vs building new like this? In todays economy I wonder if this is really the best use of limited funds.
    $150K = 44 renovated Buffalo homes
    $100k = 66 Buffalo Homes
    $75k = 88 Buffalo Homes
    All for the same price it costs to build 30 apartments?? Please explain this logic to me?

  • KangDangaLang

    Its patronage, and I would guarantee the church is getting some rich off this development!

  • RaChaCha

    I strongly agree with JD on all counts.
    The quality of this project would be improved with a daylighted Scajaquada Creek running through the site. How many waterfront housing opportunities are available on the east side–? Of course, daylighting the creek is more a long-term proposition, so in the interim this project could include a “greenway” strip over the underground route of the creek. That could include trail connections to the west (where long sections of the Scajaquada corridor already have trail on top — including the recently rebuilt ped bridge over the 33) and to the east (to Schiller Park, under which the creek runs). Again, that would add value to the project in lieu of daylighting the creek — while paving the way for it in the (hopefully) near future.

  • KangDangaLang

    …….and who would pay for these improvements?

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Wow, quite a comment stream, not sure where to start. I tend to agree these projects always seem to have a unreasonable cost per unit, those dollars would be better invested in rehabs of existing homes. Better for the city, the environment, and probably better for the residents.
    As for the subsidy/entitlement issue, JSmith has it right. The greed of American business has created the need of subsidies and entitlement programs. When the average workers wages have been driven down to below the poverty level it becomes necessary for government to assist. We would be a much stronger society without a need for government programs if we simply demanded all adult workers be compensated at a reasonable rate.

  • pampiniform

    Ok, so what’s a reasonable rate? Who gets to decide that? How would you like to run a business when the government tells you how much you have to pay someone? Who’s supposed to pay for a reasonable wage for everyone? So are you prepared to pay significantly more of your hard – earned money to buy things so that everyone can have a reasonable wage?

  • Pegger

    This is nothing but another version of a project in a neighborhood with a built in clientele already in place. Will the BMHA send its tenants right over?
    Should be a smashing success!

  • Black Rock Lifer

    A reasonable rate? enough to live without any government assistance would be a start. We all pay one way or another, why not take out the middle man. Higher wages would result in lower taxes for all and less need for government programs.
    When I said we should demand a reasonable rate I didn’t necessarily mean by government regulation. Concerned citizens for a just society might be more effective in changing the present obscene disparity in wealth.
    As for your question, am I prepared to pay more? yes, I would rather my neighbor had a good job rather than be able to buy a DVD player for $29.95.

  • Mike Duff

    Were there no poor people when factories were open and wages for low skill work was higher?
    Where there no poor people when the unions were demanding higher and higher wages and threatening to strike every few years?
    What do you think we should be paying a high school drop-out to do manual labor? What is a reasonable rate to stock a shelf at TOPS? What is a reasonable rate to answer a phone in a call center?
    What is a reasonable rate for a heart surgeon? What is a reasonable rate for a CEO of a multinational corporation who employees a 500,000 people worldwide?
    Should we just pay everyone on a fixed scale so life will be fairer?

  • pampiniform

    Ok, let me put it this way, how much would you be willing to pay for everyone to have a reasonable wage? Does every job deserve the same wage? How do you know that if everyone were making a reasonable wage that we would have to pay less in taxes?

  • sbrof

    @pampinform. I think a reasonable rate would be less than the cost to completely renovate six times as much existing space. For 220k \ unit you could EASILY renovate 5 whole houses. We are talking 2500-3500+ SF of space each not a 2 bedroom apartment. Houses including attics, basements, yards, neighbors, privacy etc.
    For the 6.6 million you could completely renovate 120-130 houses. That would go a much longer way to stabilizing this neighborhood and bringing a sense of home and pride to its residents than another set isolated projects. What do you learn by growing up someplace where a landlord takes care of everything? You don’t learn about homeownership, equity, you don’t learn what it takes to mow a lawn, fix a leaking pipe, paying a gas bill. These kinds of developments only further the dependence of their residents. Where will the children go to play? Can they walk to school? They are almost complete surrounded by active or former industrial factories, parking lots, an active railroad line and a police station. Seems like an appropriate place to live to me instead of a neighborhood of people that these residents can contribute to and support.
    What a bad project all around, shame on the church. I understand they want to do something good for the community, good for their congregation. Stabilizing the neighborhood and not siphoning out residents to isolation (like McCarley Garden did to the Fruit Belt) is not the way to go. Even St John’s realized this and is building new housing IN the community so that the message of help, compassion, love that they talk about in their sermons reaches and has an active impact of those around them.

  • F-Agate

    They can’t take care of themself or their family so why would you expect them to be able to take care of a house? What have they done to deserve a free house other than to f#$K up everything in their lives and live off the welfare.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    I am not a big consumer and would be happy to pay more for quality products made here in America. I would be willing to pay more for services as well, even if the higher cost resulted in more careful consideration of what I really needed.
    Does everyone deserve the same wage? of course not but everyone deserves to be paid enough to live with dignity and without the need for government programs.
    As for taxes, it is well known that dollars added at the bottom of the economy tend to raise tax revenues and stimulate the overall economy. Low income earners spend those dollars and pay highly regressive sales taxes, the wealthy are more likely to hoard dollars in tax evading shelters of various sorts.
    We could lower taxes, cut government programs, and create a better society if we only reversed the 30 year trend of concentrating wealth in the hands of the richest Americans. This country has the resources but our government has allowed and enabled the wealthiest to hoard those resources, maybe government needs to spend the next 30 years correcting that mistake.

  • MrGreenJeans

    The owner (and that’s what he is) of True (Twin Fair) Bethel Baptist ‘Church’ won’t deign to live near his own profit center, but it’s good enough for his beloved followers? Hah. His phony church had enough money to buy him a waterfront house & expensive cars, so let them pay 100% of this latest mistake, without free government money – AND pay full property taxes on it.
    The PUSHy, fake Socialists on the West Side shouldn’t have gotten free money, either – unless I am mistaken in the belief that Bartley & cohorts are using it to make jobs for themselves. For the amount handed to them, 20 families could have gotten $50K mortgages & renovated homes NOW, not years from now through PUSH’s ridiculous rental program proposal.
    No matter who, what or where, the government has no business subsidizing, building or owning any kind of housing.

  • MrGreenJeans

    Although the actual creek DID flow through this site (note the old culvert under the train tracks) , the route of the buried (sewer) ‘creek’ is at the North of the site, lined-up with & then under Scajaquada Street.

  • burbsarenotbuffalo

    you are correct- many of the organizations tasked with promoting home ownership and adaptive reuse of abandoned houses have strayed from their original missions- see: Heart of the City and their proposed low-income housing on Hudson St.

  • pab1usa

    Sorry if this has been brought up already…..
    Has anyone noticed the railroad tracks??? This is the Belt Line; one of the busiest set of tracks in the City. Trains move across this, not just on a daily basis, but sometimes on an hourly basis. The site map shows that there’s a 30-something foot “buffer” between the buildings and the railroad ROW. Has anyone been within 30 of a set of tracks when a train is rolling by? AND!!!! This is on a very tight turn. Do you know how loud the wheels of a train can be when they’re making a turn? They don’t pivot like a automobile’s wheel.
    I suggest folks visit the area while a train is moving through, just to get an idea of what it sounds like, not just in the daytime.
    Secondly, where is the “green space” I see mentioned in the description. This plan is laid out like every other housing project of the 40’s and 50’s. What I see is alot of driveways, parking spaces, and odd-shaped spaces that no one will be able to do anything with, and nothing that any children can safely pay around. At least some of the older housing project plans allowed for more green space than parking space. The one just around the corner on Donovan Drive comes to mind. And, we see how “lovely” that is.
    And lastly, who wants to live on top of remediated land? Anyone? As someone else has already mentioned, Hickory Woods turned out to be a great investment, didn’t it?
    The whole area was/is industrial. Putting in a housing complex is not going to change that. Right across the tracks is a huge industrial complex once known as Niagara Machine Tool and Die. Demolition and remediation costs are estimated to be astronomical. That set of buildings is never going to go away.
    Aren’t we still waiting for Glenny Drive to get started? Isn’t that project years behind schedule? Just because a member of the Common Council is involved doesn’t mean there won’t be problems.

  • jdalton

    All my research shows that the creek was buried where it lay — hence, under the culvert and then north to flow under Scajaquada St. I know it runs underneath the lawn of the Juvenile Detention Facility next door on E Ferry. As far as I know, the only built structure above the creek (other than the ped bridge over the 33) is the warehouse/factory at Filmore, which there actually predates the creek’s burial. The rest is pocket parks and public right-of-way. Photos for more info:

  • TheRealBuffaloBill

    I really confused by the idea that corporate greed as some how created the entitlement issue? It just doesn’t make sense to me, if I was making money, why would I want other people to be so poor as I get my money taken from the government and given to those people? It just doesn’t make any sense to me at all. Wouldn’t more like Unions on the other end who made people think they had a ‘right’ to wages, vacation days and all that? Again your saying we have to mandate wages move up, driving prices up, meaning real wages would be static? Say we stopped paying taxes, so goods became cheaper, you could make less money and your real income would have gone up. Also say taking out the middleman, means that guy now doesn’t have a job. That’s one of the biggest reason the US can change the tax system, millions who work on that system would be out of work.
    Tossing around words like ‘dignity’ are unquantifiable, and useless. Likewise, I don’t know where people got this idea of wealthy people hoarding dollars? Wealthy people aren’t hoarding there investing, that’s how they got wealthy. It goes back to Ford, paying there people so they could buy there product. Sure overseas has effected that dynamic but not destroyed it. No American is hoping the country dies off. In the end I’m guess you are sure your right so this is a pointless post.