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Construction Watch: 363 E. Ferry Street

Six townhouses have been completed at 363 E. Ferry Street.  The attractive, $1.35 million project was developed by Second Chance Ministries and is a women’s facility.  It occupies a formerly vacant lot that was purchased from the City last fall for $14,400.

Second Chance’s headquarters is located adjacent to the townhouse site at 381 E. Ferry.  It has also helped revitalize Charlie Perkins Park next to the townhouse site alongside School 53.  Partnerships were built with businesses, public officials, the police department and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to revitalize the neighborhood park to offer supervised activities for young people.

The townhouses were constructed by Creative Structure Services.


Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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  • Lego1981

    I only like it because it’s not fronted with drive-ways. Baby steps.

  • gtscout716

    Six new build low income houses at $225k a pop… is this really how we should be spending our limited resources?

  • hamp

    Is there something better to be spending our “limited resources” on besides affordable housing for women and children?
    Perhaps a football stadium with more luxury suites???

  • gtscout716

    Do we really have an affordable housing crisis in the city? Especially one that requires pricey new builds? Rents are rock bottom from Main into Cheektowaga, and programs like section 8 and Belmont subsidize tons of people on top of that. (By the way, the way section 8 is concentrated in the city, it ends up inflating rents beyond their market value – they’re still cheap, but the program really seems to benefit the landlords).
    Once again, you just need to follow the money – like every other “affordable housing” initiative, somebody has a connection that let’s them profit off poverty, at the expense of taxpayers. The moment Buffalonians realize this they’ll stop electing Urkels and start voting for someone who actually wants to investing to attract a middle class. We need less people who use up tax dollars and more who actually pay them.

  • biniszkiewicz

    It is troubling that the price tags for relatively small low income units always seem to be in excess of $200,000. While a bargain price as compared to many other cities, here you can buy a brand new substantially larger suburban home with much more land for less money. Go to local builders’ web sites and see what you can buy for under $200k. You can find quite a bit.
    What are the factors which inflate the cost of subsidized homes?

  • Travelrrr

    I agree with an earlier comment on this forum–“follow the money.”

  • Preservationguy

    Using federal money will trigger several reviews, restrictions, and mandates that wouldn’t come into play if the project was being financed privately. That is typically where the extra cost comes from.

  • GDubs

    I drive down that stretch of East Ferry everyday. Mark my words that no sooner will there be grass growing on those lawns than there will be litter accumulating on them.

  • hamp

    For those of you looking out for your “tax dollars”, you’re looking in the wrong places.
    The largest government (taxpayer) subsidy for housing is the Mortgage Interest Deduction that homeowners (more suburban than urban)take on their itemized federal tax returns. This subsidy costs the U.S. treasury hundreds of billion dollars a year. And many times larger than all the money HUD spends on housing each year.
    Want to follow the money? Head to the suburbs. Those are the folks that are most heavily subsidized by taxpayers.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Exactly, the mortgage interest deduction is just another subsidy for the wealthy, 60% of the financial benefits of this handout goes to the top 1/5 of taxpayers. Even more unfair is the ability to deduct mortgage interest on vacation homes.

  • Tim

    I think we can agree that the fed tax code needs to be simplified and streamlined so that it does not contain deductions. For anyone.

  • LI2Northpark

    That’s because there are way more homeowners in the suburbs than in the city. I take that deduction, I live in the city and I’m not rich at all.

  • jag

    “That’s because there are way more homeowners in the suburbs than in the city.”
    Right…that’s the point. It’s a subsidy that disproportionately props up the suburbs.
    “I take that deduction, I live in the city and I’m not rich at all.”
    Right…that’s another point. It’s a subsidy that disproportionately props up the wealthy. You probably aren’t recouping much of anything by itemizing your deductions.
    Everyone’s free to have an opinion on whether it’s worth paying $130+ billion a year on such a deduction, but those are the facts.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Somes facts on the mortgage interest deduction- 75% of Americans do not claim the benefit. Of the 25% that do only 4% earn less than 50K, 22% earn between 50K and 100K, and 73% of those earning in excess of 100K take advantage. The deduction costs the treasury over 130 Billion with the greatest portion (95 Billion) going to those earning over a 100K.
    Simple question, should we be subsidizing the mortgages of six figure earners to the tune of 95 billion a year?

  • YesSir

    Well it is a much more complex issue than how your are positioning/spinning it. So simply to your question, the answer is yes and no.

  • Buffalo_Resurrection

    Once again, the whole topic has been sent off on a tangent…
    Admittedly, I am one of the biggest opponents to any form of subsidized housing but this project is definitely for a good cause.
    The occupants are probably battered woman with children, who have nowhere else to escape the violence in their lives so could we get back to the topic?

  • gtscout716

    It’s not an either/or thing, both can be changed.
    In NYS welfare and benefits are vastly overfunded and abused, especially compared to other states (NYS spends the most on welfare per capita and nearly double the national average). When you have people moving here from other states and PR specifically to take advantage of the welfare and Medicare, that’s a problem. That’s a real drag on working people and businesses that leaves us at a huge disadvantage. This could be changed to a system more in line with the national average.
    But make a sudden change to any sort of mortgage subsidy for middle class homeowners is going to be much more harmful – why not just limit it’s use for the wealthy? You don’t want to hurt a struggling middle and working class that contributes and owns their own homes – there’s just too many of them.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    “Struggling middle and working class” people are not able to take advantage of the mortgage interest deduction. Only 4% of homeowners making less than 50K and only 22% of those making between 50K and 100K claim the deduction. This deduction is clearly a subsidy for high end earners and is no way defensible or necessary.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Please explain Karl, 60% or about 95 Billion of the 130 Billion is handed over to those earning over 100K, no spin, just fact.

  • Chris

    Vacant Lot turned into homes… I think this is a net postive.
    This project is done. I would suggest to some of the detractors to get involved and build the next group of homes. Most of the snark could be used haggling for cheaper rates so that these building go up in a more cost effective manner.
    I think the cost is out of line as well, but the greater point is that homes are being built for people that need them.
    I like the low density buildings. Having affordable housing peppered in and around the city instead of in heavely concentrated housing project is really the way to go.

  • YesSir

    don’t have the time.

  • hamp

    No, it’s not really that complex. People are complaining about using public funds to subsidize affordable housing.
    If these people are so concerned about taxes, then they should be truthful. The rich get more subsidies than the poor. So start there.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    I think you don’t have any evidence to counter my point.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    It is funny how people bitch and moan about ‘subsidized housing’ for the poor yet fail to recognize the mortgage interest deduction for exactly what it is, subsidized housing for the wealthy. We spend about 50 Billion a year for HUD and other affordable housing programs yet spend more than twice that much so six figure earners can buy more house than they can actually afford.

  • 300miles

    The question most rational people have is not whether any housing should be subsidized, but why does it cost $225,000 to build a home that will only have a market value of half that (at best)? A large suburban home on a large lot in Amherst costs 225k… but these are city townhomes on shared lots which should cut some of the costs. Why are they so expensive to build? It’s not a ‘gotcha’ question. Maybe there’s a good explanation like soil remediation or something.
    Anyway, I do like the design of these townhomes. They need to plant more trees though.

  • YesSir

    and its funny how much you and others bitch and moan to the counter. Now I do have a minute. Let’s first off start with it is a tax deduction. That means there is a tax to begin with. The tax deduction itself goes way back, I guess it has something to do with private property rights. I heard that is a capitalistic concept, since it does not have to do with redistribution of wealth it might be new to you.
    If you want to hear something really screwed up, I write off my mortgage interest on my Canadian property and it is legal under IRS rules, so chew it, I love it.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Karl- Spin it any way you like but the mortgage interest deduction is definitely “redistribution of wealth”, any time one group avoids their share of taxes someone else has to pay the bill. The deduction transfers wealth upwards, simple fact. Why should the rest of us subsidize housing for our wealthiest citizens?
    As for your Canadian property being a write off, just another example of how our system is rigged to benefit those with wealth and political influence. I have been able to get along quite well without needing government to subsidize my lifestyle. I don’t mind paying taxes to help the less fortunate but my obligation should not be extended to include enabling the lifestyle of the wealthy.

  • whatever

    “Vacant Lot turned into homes… I think this is a net positive.”
    Chris, if one looks at only those parcels, yes it might look like replacing vacancy rather than just shifting it using public money rewarding politically connected developers and everyone in the system well paid to do all the funding paperwork, etc. as mentioned by gtscout716, preservationguy, etc.
    But total vacancy in the whole city can’t reduce unless population grows.
    When the Buffalo News a few years ago analyzed from where the new residents of Sycamore Village had moved, it was overwhelmingly from other city parts of Buffalo. I don’t know of any reason to expect it will be different for this, which would mean the ripple effect will be the same number of vacancies. (Vacancies just shifted to somewhere else, and the shifting funded by $ from other taxpayers in ways that cost more than it would need to for a reasonably decent housing safety net.)

  • whatever

    hamp>”Perhaps a football stadium with more luxury suites???”
    hamp>”For those of you looking out for your “tax dollars”, you’re looking in the wrong places.The largest government (taxpayer) subsidy for housing is the Mortgage Interest Deduction…”
    BRLIfer>”Exactly, the mortgage interest deduction is just another subsidy for the wealthy, ”
    Meh, again with this phony line of reasoning implying Bad Spending Ideas A and B (like the stadium or mortgage tax deductions) should in any way excuse Bad Spending Idea C like these houses at $225,000 each.
    I see gtscout already said something like this, but I’ll pile on. It isn’t either-or.
    stadium –
    Upgrades on the (unfortunately) publicly-owned stadium should be funded only by user fees on tickets, parking, concessions, and so on, along with seat licenses for premium seats and suites. However, if unfortunately Poloncarz and/or Cuomo disagree with me and instead decide to use taxpayer $ for it, that decision won’t justify any other unrelated spending item.
    mortgage income tax deduction –
    Yes, of course, fully end it for everybody everywhere.
    I’d agree with Tim saying to end that along with as many other deductions and tax credits as possible. Ending every single one of them wouldn’t be too many for my taste, but if ending one or a few at a time is the best we can do, those are steps in a good direction.
    However, it’s nonsense to pretend there’s only one “direction” in which to “look”.
    There’s no good reason to argue that until/unless the mortgage tax deduction is ended (or stadium $ ended, or anything else… I could add demands to end $ for B’way Market, N.F. air base, historic tax credits, on and on… not to mention reforming entitlement spending growth which drawfs everything), that each other spending thing shouldn’t be independently considered yes-or-no based on if it’s justified and if it’s the smartest approach for a goal.
    You two (hamp, BRL) wouldn’t accept that kind of argument if somebody tried to justify or excuse a big dumb publicly funded new bigbox convention center on the basis that “Hey, it would cost much less than the mortgage income tax deduction costs – so go look in that direction instead of criticizing our new convention center idea!”
    Also as others have said, there’s ways to provide public assistance to the needy including for housing without these kinds of subsidized overpriced new builds.

  • YesSir

    The upper income wealth bracket individuals I speak with actually have no problem being shackled with another tax on their wealth, the problem is how it is spent, or should I say wasted.
    So I guess the solution is: let’s tax the wealth earners more so we can squander it.

  • Pegger

    I think it is a dreadful idea. What kind oF views and environment will the kids have? They live in a post industrial mess. But, it is a start!