July 13 - New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), R+A+R Development and SA+A Development formally celebrated the opening of Parkview Apartments, an $8 million project that converted the vacant Public School 59 building in the East Side community of Buffalo to 26 units of affordable apartments for low-income New Yorkers. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, joined HCR, R+A+R, S+A, Mayor Byron Brown, Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes, Senator Tim Kennedy, and development and community partners for a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Lieutenant Governor Hochul said, “The rehabilitation of School 59 into affordable housing units brings hope and opportunity to Buffalo’s East Side, both for future residents and for the community leaders who were our partners in making this project a reality. Buffalo’s economic rebirth and the revitalization of the East Side are signature priorities for Governor Cuomo, as is his fight against homelessness here and across New York State. With the opening of Parkview Apartments, we take another major step toward reaching all those goals.”
The four-story, 36,000 square-foot building at 769 Best Street was constructed in 1901. It now includes a community room, laundry room, laundry facilities, an elevator and playground. Parkview is directly across the street from Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, and is near shopping and services. Rent plus utilities range from $362 to $751 a month and are affordable to households at or below 50 percent of the area median income.
For Rhonda Ricks, Buffalo’s first certified minority and woman owned development firm, this project is a dream that has been years in the making. Ricks stated, “Leading this renovation has been a proud process for my development firm. The partnership with SA+A Development has been a successful learning experience and provided much support.
She added, “As a new developer, I am thankful to all who embraced this vision and provided the guidance and financial assistance to bring the vision full circle. It was certainly a tapestry of leadership that included Mayor Byron Brown, Congressman Brian Higgins, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, the dedicated staff of the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency (BURA) and the New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).”
“All of Buffalo’s residents deserve a safe and affordable place to live, and as we build a City of opportunity, to ensure everyone benefits from Buffalo’s rising prosperity, we’re focused on our continued commitment to further strengthen neighborhoods by providing the best housing possible,” said Mayor Byron Brown.“I’m pleased my administration was able to contribute $1.1 million in City of Buffalo HOME Funds to this project, which joins the growing list of residential projects on Buffalo’s East Side, particularly in the revitalized and historic Martin Luther Jr. neighborhood.”
“The Parkview Apartments are a long time in the making, adaptively reusing the former PS #59 to design brand new upscale yet affordable units created by Buffalo’s first minority female developer. The lengthy waiting list shows that there is a demand for new quality housing options. Congratulations to R+A+R Development and SA&A on successfully completing the first of many projects on Buffalo’s East Side,” stated Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “An exciting new chapter in the history of the East Side begins with Parkview Apartments as it welcomes new residents home. This builds on the Governor’s commitment assuring the East Side shares in Buffalo’s resurgence.”
David S. Alexander, a principal of SA+A Development stated, “SA+A is dedicated to providing quality and affordable workforce housing. We have been dedicated to this goal in Buffalo and Western New York for 40 years and we remain focused and determined to advance our mission of providing housing opportunities for all residents in the communities we serve.
Partnering with Dr. Ricks and working to complete a shared vision for the rehabilitation of School 59 into Parkview Apartments is another important step in achieving our goal and advancing this team’s mission on Buffalo’s East Side.“
About Parkview ApartmentsParkview Apartments, located at 769 Best Street, faces the beautiful Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and has close access to downtown Buffalo and city transportation. The former school building, a Buffalo historic asset built in 1901, has been renovated into 26 beautiful apartments featuring modern designs and amenities located near a park setting.
The Development TeamThe Parkview Apartments development team consists of: R+A+R Development; Stuart Alexander and Associates, a Minority Owned Business Enterprise; Community Realty Management, Inc., management agent; Kulbacks Construction, general contractors; Silvestri Architects, PC, architect, and is owned by Parkview Apartments of Buffalo, LLC. Tax credits were syndicated by the Stratford Capital Group.
Homes and Community Renewal funding for the project was provided through the Low-Income Housing Credit programs which leveraged about $4.6 million of Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity, $1.2 million in Federal Historic Tax Credit equity, $1.1 million from the City of Buffalo’s HOME/BURA program and $750,000 of State Historic Tax Credit equity.
Rhonda A. Ricks, PhD - R+A+R DevelopmentR+A+R Development, led by Rhonda Ricks, is the first Minority Woman Owned Development firm in Buffalo N.Y. In addition, to Parkview Apartments, R+A+R has established a partnership with SA+A to develop the new Forge on Broadway Community located in Buffalo, NY. Stuart Alexander and Associates (SA+A)
SA+A is a NYS-certified Minority Owned Business Enterprise founded by Stuart Alexander and currently led by company principals and owners Ernst Valery and David Alexander. Focused on developing affordable, market rate and mixed income housing since 1976, the development firm has completed the renovation and new construction of over 1,500 affordable, market rate and mixed income units in Western New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.