Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation (BENLIC) is constructing two single-family homes on formerly vacant lots on 149 and 159 Crowley Avenue in the Riverside neighborhood. The residences will provide needed affordable homeownership opportunities. Onyx Global Group, a NYS Certified Minority Women Owned Enterprise (MWBE), led by Brenda Calhoun, will construct the new homes designed to fit in with the existing housing in the neighborhood. Onyx Global Group leads the development team that includes Santoro Construction Inc. and Conway & Company Architects.
The $400,000 project aligns with BENLIC’s mission to return vacant and abandoned properties back to productive use in Buffalo and across Erie County and its commitment to partnering with local MWBEs. The homes will be completed by the end of the year.
The properties are within walking distance to Riverside Park, Elaine M. Panty Branch Library, Riverside High School, General Motors, and the Buffalo Maritime Center. BENLIC is using funding from the Land Bank Community Revitalization Initiative (CRI) grant, funded by Enterprise Community Partners. As an CRI funded project, qualified offers must make no more than 100% the Erie County Area Median Income adjusted for household size.
“The two new homes on Crowley Avenue represent our ongoing effort during these difficult times, “said Jocelyn Gordon Executive Director of BENLIC. “The collaboration between BENLIC and the City of Buffalo continues to result in exciting projects. BENLIC acquired the vacant lots from the 2018 City of Buffalo InRem Foreclosure Auction. The land bank is committed to creating more quality affordable homeownership opportunities in the City of Buffalo and using a diverse pool of contractors” Gordon said.
Onyx Global Group Principal Brenda Calhoun said, “Our team is excited and honored to partner with the City of Buffalo and BENLIC. The community revitalization grant seeks change that aligns with our long-term goals. Onyx Global Group is committed to developing affordable and healthy living environments in diverse communities.
The mission of BENLIC is to confront and alleviate the problems distressed properties cause to communities by supporting municipal and regional revitalization efforts and strategically acquiring, improving, assembling, and selling distressed, vacant, abandoned, and/or tax-delinquent properties.
“By breaking ground on the construction of two single-family homes in Riverside, BENLIC achieves two critical goals – strengthening the Riverside community and the minority and women-owned business community in Buffalo. Onyx Development, a minority and women-owned business, will be building these two houses, that will remain affordable, on vacant lots in the Riverside community. These houses being built in Riverside bring to 31 the houses that BENLIC has built or rehabilitated in the City of Buffalo. With an approach to development like this in Riverside, I look forward to many more BENLIC projects in the City of Buffalo,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said.