Next steps towards the demolition and rebuilding of the Perry “projects” are underway, to transition the underutilized site into a modern affordable housing community.
Once demolished, the City will begin the process of creating a mix of townhomes and multi-story buildings, commercial space, and community space.
Pennrose, the firm selected to transform the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority’s circa 1939 Commodore Perry development into a modern affordable housing community, updated the Board of Commissioners on the project’s design on May 22.
“After more than a year of community engagement, we are excited to partner with the BMHA to transform the long-vacant, blighted Commodore Perry public housing complex into a vibrant, mixed-use community where residents with a variety of incomes will thrive,” said Pennrose Regional Vice President Dylan Salmons, who, along with Senior Developer William D’Avella, walked the Board of Commissioners through the planning process, which began in late 2020. “Our plans for the site include 1,000 brand new apartments with modern features, outdoor amenity space, commercial and retail space.”
First off, 284 vacant apartments will be demolished, located between Louisiana and Hamburg streets, bordered by the I-190 to the north and South Park Avenue to the south. Funding for the demolition is thanks to $4 million (on behalf of the BMHA) from New York State’s Empire Development Corporation. That funding will be allocated along with $1 million from an earlier grant from the same program.
“This additional funding from Restore NY is a game-changer. These two award, totaling $5 million are a direct result of the extraordinary cooperation among the City, State of New York, and the BMHA. This will mean the demolition of the vacant Perry units can start even sooner, hopefully by the end of 2023,” said BMHA Executive Director Gillian D. Brown.
Once the demolition is complete, work will begin on building 405 housing units in a mix of townhouses and multi-family homes. The affordable housing structures will be filled with modern amenities, including in-unit washers and dryers. There will be direct access to green space that will be laid out in an entirely new configuration.
The new Perry community will be better integrated into the surrounding Old First Ward neighborhood, with residences and retail situated along South Park Avenue.
Residents will be moving into their brand new apartments in 2027.
The project creates added momentum, combined with the overhaul of the Perry towers and rowhouses that is also underway.
The price tag for the full Perry revitalization, which will include more than 1,000 apartments, is expected to top $450 million.
Currently, the City is engaging residents – to take part in a series of community meetings – to gauge people’s response to the project. A resident ‘open house’ meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, June 8, 4:30pm to 6:30 pm, which will provide a better understanding of the project. There will be display stations, the standing development team, and community stakeholders onhand.
The city hopes to schedule the demolition of the complex soon after the funds are approved. The approval process could take up to early next year.
Residents will be able to input their own suggestions pertaining to the crucial development that will transform a significant former “project” into a valuable piece of property that will better benefit the community’s needs and aspirations. The open house will be held at BMHA Administration Offices at 300 Perry Street.