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Packard Apartments Ribbon Cutting

It was a proud day for Buffalo yesterday, when brothers Ken and Larry Regan of Regan Development unveiled their coup, a beautifully restored Packard Automobile showroom and factory (circa 1926), transformed into 40 living units and an 8.000 square foot, ground floor commercial space.

The newly refurbished historic building at 1325 Main (at Riley) signifies a highly successful collective effort between the City of Buffalo, the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), Resetarits Construction, Hamilton Houston and Lownie Architects and, of course, the Regans, who say the experience of doing business here was so pleasant that they may look for more local projects.
The DHCR was responsible for just over $2M in financing through tax credits and NYS Housing Trust Fund dollars, while another $900K came from city housing funds in this overall $10M conversion.
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The ground floor is going to be occupied by a commercial tenant, and at this time, an unnamed not-for-profit looks as though it may fill the space.  All of the 40 apartments are based on maximum income levels of tenants, with several already in occupancy.  Rent is calculated just prior to signing a lease, but a 624 – 967 sq.ft.1-bedroom (below) can go from $287 – $650 depending on size and income, $348 to $800 for a 709 to 940 sq. ft. 2-bedroom, and $800 for a 1,391 to 1,663 sq ft. 3-bedroom.
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The Packard Building was recently added to the National Register List of Historic Places, and the Regans went to great lengths to keep historic details of the building, not the least of which is the beautiful tile of the showroom floor.  Going forward, any office space that will be built out will have to be done without anchoring to the original floor.  The archway (seen below), is where the Packard automobiles were driven from the factory space at the rear of the building, through the long corridor and into the showroom.  All of the ceilings throughout the building have been left exposed in order to keep the authentic original feel of the building.  In short, the original character of the building was retained as much as possible.
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DHCR Commissioner Deborah Van Amerongen, who had so much to do with the funding and development of the mixed use building said that it’s a difficult thing to make historic preservation, green development and affordable housing work – and she praised the Regan brothers for accomplishing all three of those objectives in this project.
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(Pictured above: Larry Regan, Councilman Brian Davis, Mayor Byron Brown, Deborah Van Amerongen and Rev, Stenhouse.)
Along with high praise for Regan Development, Mayor Brown lauded the work of the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency and the Office of Strategic Planning in helping to bring this development to fruition.  He reminded those gathered that this area of Mid-town Buffalo has become highly desirable, especially with Artspace as an anchor, and said that there is a national waiting list of people wanting to live in Artspace Buffalo.
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(Hamilton Houston and Lownie’s Jeff Coutch, Ken Regan, HHL’s Matthew Meier and Larry Regan.)
Larry Regan said that the Division of Housing for the State of New York is the national leader in affordable housing and he thanked Commisioner Van Amerongen and her assistant, Sean Fitzgerald for working so diligently on this project.  It should also be noted that in completing the project, the Regans met and surpassed requirements for the use of minority and women owned businesses.
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Find out more about rentals and income requirements for occupancy of the Packard Apartments here.
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  • Matthew.Ricchiazzi

    $10 million project / 40 units = $250k p/unit. Yikes!

  • Elena Cala Buscarino

    And the huge showroom. Plus, I’m not sure you can think of this in terms of “per unit” cost. This isn’t prefab with the main objective of housing. This is preservation with utility beyond aesthetics.
    Bottom line: Lovely reuse of an historically significant building – priceless.

  • Clitons Ditch

    Why not market rate? The problem in Buffalo is not that there is unavailable affordable housing for the poor. Buffalo’s core problem is that there is not decent housing for the middle class.

  • Really?

    @Cintons Ditch
    I am pretty sure the close to $3M the project got in special financing came with some strings.
    In case you did not know, programs in NYS are to support the poor or unions. If you are middle class or working…tough.

  • QueenCity

    Clitons, is absolutely correct. There is not enough decent housing for the middle class AND THE MAJORITY OF NEW HOUSING FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS AND THE MAJORITY OF NEW OFFICE PARKS FOR MIDDLE INCOME JOBS ARE IN THE AREAS OF SPRAWL. Areas outside of downtown, the surrounding urban neighborhoods and even the 1st tier suburbs of the 1950s.
    The health of our entire region depends on ways to bring those new office parks and those middle income housing back into the city.
    Allentown is benefiting from the Center for Excellence in Life Sciences BUT IN MY OPINION THE MASTEN COMMUNITY is ripe to be the next allentown. Ripe because it is located in between the Center for Excellence to the South, Humboldt Park&Science Museum&Science BPS to the east and within is Artspace&Masten Armory&City Honors&Masten Park.
    Our Lady of Lourdes de Notre Dame could emulate Righteous Babes on Delaware and new Westside Arts on Richmond if added to Artspace.
    St Vincents would not have any problems with renting apartments so close to Packard and the other new developments if only it captured a developers interest. Its adjacent to the Packard and right behind the Squire.

  • Molly

    The outside looks almost identical to the old photo, minus that awesome sign! But it’s good to see this building in use and the outside preserved.

  • whatever

    The pic of Byron with giant sissors in an instant classic.
    Brian Davis standing next to him is icing on the cake, but even just those sissors are great. Very good job to the photographer.

  • Colin

    So Brian Davis can make it to a ribbon cutting, but he can’t make it to work at City Hall?


    Looks like a quality renovation. Congrats! There is a building around the corner waiting for your talents.

  • sonyactivision

    Well, in the Subsidized Housing Hall Of Fame, there now is a luxury condo tower in Crown Heights in NYC that has been leased to an agency that houses the homeless at a cost of $2700 per month per unit. The landlord is clearly ecstatic to be able to continue making his mortgage payments and not lose his building to the banks, while the Bloomberg Administration can finally crow about helping the homeless (after years of lackluster leadership on the subject while he allowed condo towers to sprout everywhere). So this project just seems all the more de rigeur. In any event, it looks great!

  • Pegger

    This is a truly wonderful and affordable project which makes me also wonder about the financing. I also checked out the link describing other projects in the downtown area. Most of them are unaffordable which leads me to ponder the negative effects of gentrification.
    My concern over this project and certain others is the subsidy factor. With my income in any of them, I would be subject to the maximum monthly rent. Call me whatever names you like (but, pleae keep it clean), but I don’t want to pay $800/mo. and have to live next door to someone who pays only $237. I have been in that situation before. You can talk all you want about diversity and tolerance, but when you have employed people who need their sleep living next door to others who have no employment, no routine, and socialize at all hours, there is going to be a clash. Yes, I know the arguments about disabled people needing places and it is a valid one. However, with such close proximity in such housing, a little inconsideration goes a long way to big unpleasantness.
    I would love to live in this facilty. As a single person, I would want the 3 bedroom unit and would be elated to pay only $800. But, what would be next door, above me, or below me?

  • onestarmartin

    LOL, I can’t believe Brian Davis had the nerve to show up, even better is that Lord Byron allowed him to stand next to him. But then they are both idiots so go figure. Man, is City Hall screwed up!

  • rb09

    The DHCR was responsible for just over $2M in financing through tax credits and NYS Housing Trust Fund dollars, while another $900K came from city housing funds in this overall $10M conversion.
    And materials from out of state vendors were used on the project!
    New York State is a joke.

  • skarnath

    The article, & especially the comments, on the Packard Building from 2007 is instructive. In a city with declining population, high unemployment, and low area median income, the most likely “white knight” for buildings like this is the incredibly complex combination of federal housing tax credits, state housing tax credits & federal historic rehab credits that were cobbled together to make this project work. If St. Vincents is saved (and Larry Regan considered buying that building & restoring it, but rejected it as too expensive & difficult at that time), or the German American Orphanage is reborn as St. Martin Village, it will only be because of the availability of a variety of tax credits that will attract equity investors to the projects. Even with the credits, they are often too expensive.
    One of the benefits of the housing credit rules is that developers can use the metro area median income (rather than the city median income) in determining tenant eligibility. The state housing credits allow tenants to have income up to 90% of AMI, the federal credit up to 60%. Erie County AMI for a family of four in 2009 is $63,500 so a family of four can have household income of $57,150 and qualify for one of the 16 state credit units in the Packard Bldg. To get funded, Mr. Regan voluntarily agreed to scale that back to 80% – or $50,800. The other 24 units follow the federal housing credit rules. But state funding rules (DHCR) still require at least one person per bedroom, so a single person cannot rent a 3 bedroom unit, even if they can afford it.
    These deals typically take one to two years to put all the pieces together, and that’s before closing with the investor and construction lender and starting work.

  • Pegger

    That being the case, my single status and higher income would leave me with the one bedroom option for $800. A room for a study/office/media room would not be possible. So, and adjacent apartment that had 3 bedrooms might house a couple and their 4 or 5 children for the price of $237. Yup, not for the middle class residents in this project either. So, let’s call this a development for the working poor. To that end, it works.

  • 12GrainStudio

    We’ll be moving in the Packard lofts next month and look forward to growing with Main Street. As a young couple/company, this was a great opportunity to make new friends and maintain a presence downtown without spending an arm and a leg. Also, we’re much more comfortable entertaining clients in this space than we would be in an older, smaller apartment we would have gotten for the same price. Can’t wait to meet our new neighbors!