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Homes and Community Renewal

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Announces Start of Construction on $50.7 Million Mixed-Use Development on Buffalo’s East Side

Redevelopment of Vacant Buffalo Forge Company Industrial Complex Will Create Vibrant Residential Community

Initial Phase Includes 158 Affordable Homes and 9,500 Square Feet of Commercial Space

November 14, 2018 – New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas today announced the start of construction for the redevelopment of the former Buffalo Forge Company site on Buffalo’s East Side. The $50.7 million first phase of the four-phase redevelopment known as The Forge on Broadway will include 158 affordable apartments and nearly 9,500 square feet of commercial space. The site will ultimately include 22 townhomes for first-time homebuyers as well as 90 homes for seniors and additional retail space. The project complements investments by the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council and Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency to reshape Buffalo’s East Side by redeveloping brownfield sites and adding mixed-income housing with ground level commercial space.

Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The Forge on Broadway reflects HCR’s holistic approach to revitalizing neighborhoods by building mixed-use developments near job centers. With the transformation of this vacant industrial site, we are bringing 158 new homes and commercial space to Buffalo’s East Side and building a stronger economy in Western New York.”

Located at Broadway and Mortimer Street, The Forge on Broadway will create a vibrant residential community adjacent to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council is committed to revitalizing Buffalo’s East Side by supporting mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods with access to mixed-income housing and jobs.  Since 2011, New York State has invested more than $252 million on Buffalo’s East Side using locally driven strategies.

Phase one includes a single “E” shape building with 158 apartments that will be affordable to low- and moderate-income households. The building includes 9,481 square feet of commercial space that will be used for medical offices.

Building amenities include a green roof, walking/running track, fitness area, electric vehicle charging station, a game room, conference room, bike storage, community room with a kitchen, indoor fitness center, and a library. The project is designed in accordance with green building guidelines and will be part of the Enterprise Green Communities program.

The 13-acre vacant industrial complex, formerly home to the Buffalo Forge Company, operated as a manufacturing site for blacksmith forges, drilling machines, steam engines, heaters, blowers and air exhaust systems. The plant closed in 1994 and the existing buildings were demolished in 2006. The site was named a brownfield site by the State of New York and will undergo remediation and cleanup under the Brownfield Cleanup Program.

The Forge on Broadway will honor the history of the former Buffalo Forge Company where Willis Carrier patented the air-conditioner and later founded the Carrier Corporation through a display of products and memorabilia representative of the Company. The development will recycle a vacant and polluted industrial property into a vibrant health and wellness community.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s financing for The Forge on Broadway includes $7.9 million in tax-exempt bonds, federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Brownfield tax credits that will generate a total of $26.5 million for the project, and an additional $13.4 million in subsidy.

The State’s commitment to providing all New Yorkers with access to safe, affordable housing is reflected in the state's unprecedented $20 billion, five-year Housing Plan. The plan makes housing accessible and combats homelessness by building and preserving more than 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 units of supportive housing. The plan is a comprehensive approach to statewide housing issues and includes multifamily and single-family housing, community development, and rent stabilization. Since 2011, HCR has invested $226 million in Western New York that has created affordable housing for about 9,000 residents.

The development team is a joint venture between Stuart Alexander & Associates, Inc. (SAA|EVI), R+A+R Development Inc. and SCG Development Partners.  SAA|EVI is a NYS-certified Minority Owned Business Enterprise and has been developing affordable, market rate and mixed housing since the firm’s inception in 1976. R+A+R Development is led by Dr. Rhonda Ricks and is the first Minority Woman Owned Development firm in Buffalo. SCG Development is a privately held real estate development firm focused on creating quality affordable and workforce rental communities.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “The Forge on Broadway is a project that recognizes Buffalo’s rich history and builds on it to create a better future. What had been a vacant 13-acre parcel for the past twelve years will be transformed into a contemporary neighborhood, with affordable mixed-use housing, retail, and environmentally-friendly features. This shows that our area’s rebirth is spreading and gaining momentum, reaching parts of our community that are sorely in need of development. The Forge on Broadway will bring a new and exciting neighborhood to Buffalo’s East Side.”

Senator Tim Kennedy said, "The Forge on Broadway is the perfect example of a New York State investment that is transforming Buffalo's East Side and making home ownership affordable and efficient. I look forward to seeing this site redeveloped and re-energized, and thank everyone who has been working hard to make this project possible." 

Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, "Congratulations to RAR Development, SA&A, Stratford Capital and the rest of the Buffalo Forge Development Team on breaking ground on such an impactful, inclusive, large and transformative community project on Buffalo's East Side. I'd like to thank Governor Cuomo, HCR and DEC for their efforts in making all of this possible.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “This $50.7 million project will bring more affordable housing and daily activity to this neighborhood, create new jobs as new retail and commercial spaces open up, and continue my commitment to revitalizing Buffalo’s East Side.  I thank the development team of Stuart Alexander and Associates, SCG Development and Dr. Rhonda A. Ricks of R+A+R Development for undertaking what will be a transformational project that complements my comprehensive approach to economic inclusion on the East Side of Buffalo.”

Dr Rhonda Ricks, President, R+A+R Development said, "The Buffalo Forge site remained contaminated, vacant, and an eyesore to this east side community for more the 30 years. To participate in the transition of this site to a viable community continues with the mission of my company, which is to change the quality of people’s lives. Thank you to Mayor Brown and the entire WNY delegation for your support in bringing this vision to reality.” 

Steve Wilson, President, SCG Development, said, “SCG Development is very pleased to participate in the redevelopment of the former Buffalo Forge industrial site. The new apartments homes will play an important role in the continued growth of the area by providing clean, modern, safe and reasonably priced rental housing to employees that deserve tremendous credit for the continued economic success and vibrancy of Buffalo.”

Ernst Valery, Managing Member SAA|EVI, said, “SAAlEVI (Stuart Alexander and Assoc. Inc.) is proud to have captained a team of professional developers in creating another meaningful housing project for Western New York and Buffalo in particular. We are pleased that SAAlEVI’s growth over the past decade, having begun in Buffalo over 45 years ago and expanded throughout the east coast, did not occur at the expense of foregoing our home community. The Buffalo Forge development represents a singular meaningful achievement that could not have occurred without the assistance and participation of State and Local government’s…on behalf of our team we thank everyone.”