Affordable Housing Project for the City of Tonawanda, NY



People Inc. embarks on the organizations 125th housing project for the region, to convert old school into affordable housing

Reported by Alexander Ehms in Buffalo

24 March 2016 – Buffalo, NY, USA – Western New York is plagued with vacant school buildings. Buildings that at one time had served the community, but with decreasing enrollment rates have gone into disrepair. Many of these former schools have been redeveloped into senior living facilities. For the first time People Inc. plans to renovate one of these dilapidated giants into an affordable housing apartment complex aimed at the general public.

160324-pmwj44-Ehms-Tonawanda-IMAGEDuring the course of negotiations and purchase of the property, the local zoning board had troubles accepting this proposal. There were concerns that the local income housing would cause damage to the local property values and increase traffic. People Inc. took the case to the state supreme court, and ultimately the zoning committee passed the proposal allowing People Inc. to begin this $10 million dollar project.

The project will include 38 apartment units, 15 of which will be reserved for individuals with disabilities and traumatic brain injuries. There is something to be learned from both the proposal process and ultimately the project itself once it is underway. With the neighboring Kenmore-Tonawanda school district set to close up to 3 schools within the next two years, our community may learn from the results of this People Inc. project and hopefully find innovative ways of redeveloping other vacant properties.

With financing from First Niagara Financial Group Inc. and funding from FHLBNY, Homeless Housing and Assistance Corp, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the renovations are expected to be completed by March of 2017.

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