A wing of the historic former Catholic school Villa Maria Academy has been given the financial green light for conversion into 67 affordable senior (55+) apartments. A $15.2 million Low-Income Housing Tax Credit is making the project possible. The project, known as Angela’s House, is thanks to the investments and efforts of Enterprise Housing Credit Investments (EHCI), CB-Emmanuel Realty LLC (CBE), and Delta Development (Delta). M&T Bank is the Housing Credit investor.
Additional financing for Angela’s House includes:
- $12.1M construction loan from Evans Bank
- $3.6M in loan financing from the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Program
- $3.4M in loan financing from the NY State Homes and Community Renewal Supportive Housing Opportunity Program
- The project will also benefit from HOME funds from the Town of Cheektowaga and a NYSERDA energy efficiency subsidy
Once open, the housing complex, located at 600 Doat Street, will be available to seniors earning less than 60 percent of the area median income. Developers CBE and Delta will be the property managers, who will oversee the complex, along with a subsidized full-time social worker and other staff members. Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) is responsible for the aforementioned subsidy, while Catholic Charities of Buffalo (CCB) will be provide referrals for resident services, including physical and behavioral health services, money management education, independent living skills training, and transportation. CCB will also provide referrals for a number of homeless seniors that will be living in 21 of the units that have been allocated as “supportive housing” within the six story building.
“The senior population in Erie County has grown 26 percent in the past 10 years, and as rents rise in the area, it’s essential to create affordable homes that enable longtime residents to age in place,” said Scott Hoekman, president of Enterprise Housing Credit Investments. “The flexibility of the Housing Credit was the key to making Angela’s House a reality. We look forward to the impact it will have on this community over the long term, and we greatly appreciate M&T Bank’s investment in the Housing Credits for this development.”
“CB-Emmanuel is excited to partner with Enterprise Housing Credit Investments, M&T Bank, Evans Bank, the Town of Cheektowaga, and our partners at Delta Development and Catholic Charities to provide much needed Senior Housing for the Town of Cheektowaga,” said Margarita Pajaro, vice president of Development for CB-Emmanuel Realty. “We also want to thank the Felician Sisters of North America for entrusting our organization to bring our joint vision to fruition, thereby honoring the legacy of Sister Mary Angela Truszkowska for whom the project is named.”
The property will be renovated to meet Enterprise Green Communities and NYSERDA Multifamily New Construction Program Tier 2 standards for sustainable and energy-efficient construction.
Depending on the floor, and the room, amenities for the seniors will include accessibility for those with mobility impairments, as well as hearing and vision impairments. There will be a mix of conveniences such as grab bars, low-reach shelving and cabinets, lever-style door handles, under-cabinet lighting, and zero-transition showers. The second floor will feature a lobby, and a large community room (with a kitchen and office and meeting space for management and resident support). The second through sixth floors will each include a laundry room. New on-site parking is also being incorporated into the buildout of the complex.
The project is part of the Villa Maria Motherhouse Complex, which was originally built in 1927 on the Villa Maria College campus. Altogether the complex boasts three sizeable wings, two of which house the Motherhouse for the Felician Sisters of St. Francis and a chapel.
The Complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
“Affordable housing is an integral component of vibrant communities,” said Jim Lonergan, interim executive director of Delta Development. “This project is a great example of how the combined efforts from HCR (New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal) and national, regional and local partners can come together to have a meaningful impact on our communities. Closed in 2006, the former Villa Maria Academy will find new life and purpose in providing quality, affordable and accessible housing for seniors across the region. We are thankful for the Felician Sisters of North America to give us the opportunity to carry on their legacy and tradition in one of their buildings, which for many generations gave so much to the community it served. Delta Development is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such great partners as Enterprise Housing Credit Investments, M&T Bank, Evans Bank, the Town of Cheektowaga, our codeveloper CB-Emmanuel, and Catholic Charities to provide much needed senior housing for the town of Cheektowaga.”
Ultimately, this project will also benefit from the close proximity of a Living Independently for Elders (“LIFE”) Center used to run the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (“PACE”) program in Cheektowaga (not far from Bailey Avenue). The Center (see below) is located adjacent to the Complex, and was put in place to provide medical and support services (including in-home) to those who are hoping to “age in place.”
The property was designed by Trautman Associates. RP Oak Hill Building Company, Inc. will be the general contractor.
Angela’s House is expected to be completed by June 2022.