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Mixed adaptive reuse of a three-story former school building in Tonawanda

The holidays will be a litter brighter in Tonawanda, NY this holiday season, thanks to the adaptive reuse of a three-story former school building, into 14 affordable apartments and 4000 square foot commercial space. The announcement was made by the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) and David Pawlik, a principal member of Development Unlimited of WNY, LLC. The project, located at 72 East Niagara Street overlooking the Erie Canal, is made possible thanks to $1.675 million in construction financing.

Adapting existing and underutilized buildings into high quality, affordable housing and commercial space is key to revitalizing and stabilizing communities, especially in smaller cities and suburbs,” said Andrew DAgostino, Senior Vice President & Western New York Regional Director at CPC, which is offering up a $1.675 million construction loan, and proposing to refinance with a $1.675 million permanent loan provided by the States Common Retirement Fund, fully insured by SONYMA.  “Investing in projects like this can give hardworking New Yorkers a chance to put down roots, while bringing stability and economic opportunity to the community. Thanks to our partners at Development Unlimited of WNY, HCR, and Comptroller DiNapoli and the State’s Pension Fund for their vision and commitment to revitalizing our communities.”

The ten one-bedroom and four two-bedroom units will be affordable to households earning at or below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI).

“Without the assistance of CPC and HCR’s loan program, the renovation of the former school would not be possible,” said David Pawlik, principal member of Development Unlimited of WNYC, LLC.

Financing from a participating private institutional lender, such as CPC, results in a lower blended financing cost.

Additionally, the project will receive $700,000 of funding through NYSs Participation Loan Program, while taking advantage of New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s (HCR) Small Building Participation Loan Program (PLP), an affordable housing program.

PLP project requirements include:

  • Income-restricted
  • Between 5 to 40 units
  • Must be located outside of New York City

NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The NYS Small Building Participation Loan program is designed to deliver affordable housing using a flexible financial approach that can accommodate smaller projects. With $700,000 through this program, 72 East Niagara Street will undergo rehabilitation to transform this underutilized school building into a community asset with 14 affordable homes and ground floor commercial space. We are proud to partner with CPC on this project as we further Governor Cuomo’s commitment to creating safe and affordable homes for New Yorkers in Tonawanda and across the state.”

The apartments will be outfitted finishes and amenities that include:

  • Carpet/hardwood flooring
  • High quality cabinets
  • Stainless steel appliances such as a dishwasher, granite countertops, and secured intercom entry
  • Common areas will include laundry and tenant storage

“We are pleased to be an investment partner with the Community Preservation Corporation on this shared mission to help revitalize communities in New York State,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, trustee of the New York State Pension Fund. “I welcome the sound investment we made for our fund that will also help enhance the Tonawanda neighborhood.”

As for the commercial space, it is already spoken for – it will be occupied by AMD Environmental, a local environmental consultant group.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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