Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority Board of Commissioners voted unanimously today to enter negotiations with three development groups to create comprehensive plans to re-envision, re-develop and re-position the Commodore Perry, Marine Drive and Shaffer Village housing developments.
“The redevelopment of the Perry, Shaffer and Marine Drive developments represents an extraordinary opportunity to reshape the face of public housing in the City of Buffalo. The three teams selected today represent a mix of extremely knowledgeable and committed national and local developers with demonstrated track records of success, said BMHA Executive Director Gillian D. Brown. “Under the leadership of Mayor Brown, and in collaboration with the City of Buffalo, BMHA can now embark on a comprehensive rebuilding of some of our oldest and most distressed public housing. By committing to the continued health of these large family developments, we are demonstrating our continued belief that there is a place for public housing in this City, and that public housing can be housing of choice, and not housing of last resort.”
“BMHA’s action today reflects my Administration’s commitment to affordable housing and moves Buffalo closer to my vision of 40% of housing units in the City of Buffalo remaining affordable permanently. This will be one of the largest investments in affordable housing in the county and one of the largest development investments in Buffalo over the next decade. Through creative and thoughtful planning that engage the residents of BMHA, this effort will transform outdated structures and poorly utilized sites into housing developments that fit the new Buffalo, but more importantly, will provide housing, health, and economic benefits that will positively impact the residents of BMHA for generations,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown.
In February, the BMHA issued a national request for qualifications to identify individual developers and development groups interested in taking on the overhaul of the three housing sites. A total of 17 firms and groups submitted qualifications, 10 went through initial interviews, and seven were selected to present their vision for the housing development they were most interested in.
The RFQ evaluation committee, which included the BMHA Executive Director Brown, Assistant Executive Director Modesto Candelario, BMHA General Counsel Roslyn L. McLin, Brendan Mehaffy, Executive Director, City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning and Director of Planning Nadine Marrero, selected the following groups:
Commodore Perry - Pennrose LLC, headquartered in New York, NY
Pennrose proposes to redevelop Perry as a bridge between Canalside and Larkinville, updating and expanding the 2014 Perry Choice Plan, bringing life back to acres of Perry which has hundreds of vacant, dilapidated apartment buildings. WRT Design + Planning, the Philadelphia, firm which created the Perry Choice plan, will be part of the Pennrose team.
The Habitat/D&B team proposes to rethink the entire layout of Marine Drive and create a mixed-income, mixed use development. The team would like to open up the interior of the property to better connect it to the waterfront and Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park. The firms would also like to add educational, social and medical services to Marine Drive.
Shaffer Village – Buffalo Equitable Housing Collaborative (a partnership of The Richman Group, Stamford, CT, JHM Financial Group, New York, NY and Penman Development Partners, of Buffalo)
The BEH team proposes to expand Shaffer by changing its layout, building on an empty lot and merging the property boundaries with the surrounding neighborhood. Its vision includes a combination of new construction and renovation of existing housing units, adding a large community center and addition of onsite social services.
Today’s vote authorizes BMHA Executive Director Gillian D. Brown to negotiate with the development teams and enter into Master Developer Agreements for redeveloping and repositioning Commodore Perry, Marine Drive and Shaffer.
Brown anticipates having final Master Development Agreements in place by January, 2021. The planning phase will begin immediately after that, and will go on through 2021, with physical construction anticipated to begin in 2022, or earlier if possible.
“Obviously, COVID-19 imposes new challenges on the public planning process, but we are hopeful that a robust and inclusive planning process can be accomplished during 2021, so that construction can begin as soon as possible. These projects will all involve multiple phases, and many millions of dollars in public and private financing.”
In other action, the BMHA board approved a nearly $1.9 million contract with Allstate General Contracting, of West Seneca, to replace roofs on six, high-rise apartment towers in the Perry development. Work will begin in spring 2021.
The board also approved a contract with Buffalo-based Mollenberg-Betz to install a replacement boiler at 124 Fulton Street in the Perry development at a cost of $246, 900.