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Better Look: The Forge

Stuart Alexander and Associates, SCG Development and Dr. Rhonda Ricks will be presenting their plan for a multi-phase, mixed-use development on the former Buffalo Forge site at Broadway and Mortimer Street to the Planning Board on Monday. Apartments, for-sale townhouses, and commercial space are planned.

The $48 million project will occupy a 7.98 acre portion of the Buffalo Forge property.

From the Project Application:

The Forge will be comprised of a 159-unit mixed income multi-family property with approximately 80 percent of apartments that would be available for workforce families and other residents earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) as well as 25 townhomes available for homeownership. Many of Western New York’s working families will qualify. Area median income is $67,300. A family who earns $40,380 is eligible. In addition, 20 percent of the apartments will be available for tenants earning above 60 percent and up to 130 percent of AMI, which ranges from $40,380 up to $87,490.

The development will also include an attached commercial space (10-15,000 square feet) facing Broadway that will offer services and products to the residents and surrounding community.

The apartment building will be four-stories along Broadway and three-stories along Mortimer Street. There will be 25 townhouses constructed along the north end of Mortimer across the street from the Sycamore Village subdivision and also along the south side of Sycamore Street.  Silvestri Architects is designing the project.

Vehicle access to the townhouses will be from laneways that border a surface parking lot internal to the site (above).

Exterior materials will include aluminum panels, horizontal lap siding, aluminum railings, brick veneer, and architectural block.

The Buffalo Forge site has been vacant for over a decade. In 2006, current owner Howden Buffalo applied for and received permission to demolish the factory covering a full city block along Broadway, Sycamore, Spring and Mortimer streets due to unsafe conditions and structural problems.

Stuart Alexander and Associates (SA+A) is a NYS-certified Minority Owned Business Enterprise and has been developing affordable, market rate and mixed housing since the firm’s inception in 1976. SA+A Development has completed the renovation and new construction of over 1,500 affordable, market rate and mixed income units in Western New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

R+A+R Development: R+A+R Development is led by Dr. Rhonda Ricks and is the first Minority Woman Owned Development firm in Buffalo N.Y. R+A+R Development and SA+A Development are currently partnering on the historic renovation of the Parkview Apartments located across from Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

SCG Development: SCG Development is a privately held Development Company founded in 2007. They have developed over $480 million of residential units which include affordable housing, adaptive reuse and historic renovation in ten states.
over 4,000 units.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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  • Flyguy2pt0

    Within a city setting unless we are talking about a public park system that the City already has in place I really do not understand the vast open space areas surrounding this project. I’m hopeful these are future development sites? Its bad enough the east side has as much vacant lands and ghost home sites but as part of a development package I actually find the rendering anti-urban except for the building heights and frontage along Mortimer Street. Whats the plan on the Spring Street side? Just open space? Why are we suburban garden apartment-ing up the City? I have no problem with suburban scale development in such settings but this is the urban core and makes no sense. Seems in the interest of sustainable development, creating walkable neighborhoods, focused growth you would want density. This is the issue I have with old and new developments such as Ellicott Town Center with the towers in the park theme going on and lower height garden apartments wasting space; Towne Apartments blowing acres away in surface lots, open space, scattered 3 story apartment buildings; nearby Douglas Towers and the attached homes adjacent to them (pictured)- such a random disjointed mix of housing “products” I have no idea what I am looking at, it just doesnt make sense; McCarley Gardens near the Medical Campus; Pilgrim Village, etc.

    What are we doing? Whats the plan to maintain urbanism and resist low density sprawling waste of space developments like these? Who is planning, reviewing and approving these projects? Does the new green code put a cap on the amount of open space that can come in with a development? Many of these projects you might see on the outskirts of a little rural village or tiny city in the middle of farmlands.

    • No_Illusions

      The corner playground/tennis courts already exist.

      As for the rest, I image budget and demand have a major contributing factor.

      Better to have landscaped open space than overgrown empty lots. If this area ever takes off, they can easily add more units.

      For now, they’re greatly densifying what is currently a giant plot of urban prairie.

      • Flyguy2pt0

        I hope thats the long term plan…further expansion. Otherwise there is a right way and a wrong way to plan sites and examples like that I pictured in my initial comment are seriously wrong. I would rather the lot remain vacant waiting for greater density and proper site design than live with a waste of space project within the urban core. We accept projects like that pictured above and we have to live with them for decades. In the meantime they take up precious space. Buffalo is trying to rebuild and rebrand itself properly. Examples like that above do not do that.

        • No_Illusions

          So you would rather that space next to the project remaining an abandoned lot over a well manicured lawn?

          I’m more worried about the abandoned lots on the other side of Mortimer.

          • Flyguy2pt0

            I would like to know that the well manicured lot is in fact a future designated phase of development and not a response to what suburbanites have been “given” (see above) resulting in the city becoming green acres low density with massive open space areas. Lets not suburb or rural up the City please.

    • eagercolin

      Maybe the people who will actually end up living here like a bit of well kept green space and consider that sort of thing an amenity? Or, to sharpen the stick: maybe folks who were denied access to the suburbs want a small taste of what others were given?

      • Flyguy2pt0

        So lets turn the city into the suburbs? There are plenty of housing products in the suburbs and rural areas. If thats the goal then move there. This flies in the face of sustainability and rebuilding the City as the population core of WNY. If this is the new direction and philosophy of affordable housing the City is in for a long ride.

        • eagercolin

          None of this is suburban. A large multifamily development with income restrictions in the middle of a black neighborhood is by definition not suburban. That’s not changed by that fact that there is some green space around it.

          That’s also not my point, which you missed due to your fixation on buildings rather than people. I’ll try again: maybe black people (who were effectively barred from participating in the suburbs) might find a bit of pleasure in well maintained open space? Maybe the vinyl victorians that people on here seem to hate with a visceral passion are actually considered nice places to live by those who were redlined into crumbling ghetto housing? Maybe what’s presented as “the right way” to do things simply codifies the tastes of certain groups, and other groups have different tastes? I don’t actually know what people in this neighborhood feel about this development or these issues more broadly, but at least I won’t tell them to leave the city if they like it.

          • Nick

            Really, none of this is suburban? not the giant surface lots? not the meaningless green space and shrubbery fronting the entire side of a block. Wake up.

          • Nick

            Holy hell, black people are barred from participating in the suburbs? not only is that the most ridiculous thing I have ever read but if that’s truly the case then put some low income housing in Amherst don’t try to suburbanize developments in the city.

          • eagercolin

            Yes, black people were effectively barred from participating in the suburbs. There’s a whole body of literature on this topic. I’ve read it, and you haven’t. You’re ignorant, and should stop speaking.

          • Nick

            Well if you’ve read it there we go. Good thing I’ve read Dianetics and have enjoyed the wealth of knowledge that has provided.

          • Nick

            Okay if we can take a step back, just now realizing you’re talking in the past tense (were not are barred) But still don’t see why that would effect new developments

          • Ra Cha Cha

            Vinyl-Victorian-hater hater?

      • Wally Balls

        What suburb openly denies access to people?

        • OldFirstWard

          The Hamlet of Ebenezer

          • Wally Balls

            Yea, still waiting for EagerColin to tell me which towns openly discriminate …

    • 300miles

      I get what you’re saying, but I’m guessing that empty strip of land along Spring St where the pine trees are shown in the site plan could be used for more townhouses in the future, if the first part of the project is successful. Aside from the parking lots I wouldn’t really consider this looking suburban. It’s 3 or 4 floors high and built to the sidewalk. the main road here is Broadway and they did build up that corner, but could not continue it where the existing basketball courts are.

    • Jordan Then

      This project is 23 units per acre, which is roughly equivalent to 130% of the density of the Elmwood Village.

      • Flyguy2pt0

        Elmwood village also has a pretty clear urban fabric rather than clustered high density development separated by large surface lots and open spaces. Was Spring Street part of the City Comprehensive Plan for expanded parks and recreation space? I really hope there is a plan for future development there. Huge public housing towers in the park can also have nice looking density numbers but they also kill urban fabric, walkable streets and transitions and simply they just take up alot of space and Buffalo is not a large city land or population wise. If you start to add up all the projects I initially mentioned you are looking at alot of precious land tied up in suburban style developments a stones throw from downtown. My comments included this project but also include a whole host of others as I mentioned initially.

        • Jordan Then

          It’s most important to have street fronting retail on Broadway, which this project does on 100% of it’s frontage. They don’t own the basketball court and cannot do anything about it.

          The site planning for this project is a significant improvement over other ones in the city. Retail on the retail street? check. Continuous buildings along the other streets? Check (excepting Spring, which may be used for 5 single family detached homes, which are being considered according to the Buffalo News article).

          The sidestreets were always 100% residential (houses) and far less dense than this project.

          This is a good project overall.

  • grovercleveland

    Imagine opposing a public housing project because it “looks suburban”.

    • Flyguy2pt0

      Absolutely would! A community shouldn’t be forced to take whatever is forced upon them because its “public housing”. Public housing is some sort of holy diety that cant be touched? Maybe public housing needs to be checked from time to time.

  • FreedomCM

    hmm…maybe the plan is to provide quality housing to people living in the area?

    just because some armchair urban planners don’t like the layout doesn’t mean that the people voting with their rent and mortgage payments should move to the suburbs and further depopulate the east side.

  • robert biniszkiewicz

    $300k per apartment. Low income housing has to be expensive, evidently.

  • S.L.Hawks

    ‘The Forge” is a site at which millions of dollars were spent, scraping industrial poisons down to bedrock. PCBs appear not to be a likely selling point.

    Other than the toxic waste problem, this should be a wonderful place to live, surrounded by good jobs, great schools, pleasant parks, etc. Lower Broadway is Buffalo’s future!