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Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority votes to re-develop three properties with goal of transforming public housing

Three development groups have been chosen to redevelop the Commodore Perry, Marine Drive and Shaffer Village projects.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Three of Buffalo's public housing projects will be getting a major makeover following a unanimous vote Thursday by the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA).

The BMHA will partner with three development groups 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.”

Penrose LLC., based in New York City, proposes to redevelop the Perry Projects as a bridge between Canalside and Larkinville. The 2014 Perry Choice plan will be updated and expanded with the goal of bringing back to life to hundreds of vacant, dilapidated buildings. 

The Habitat Co., of Chicago and Duvernay + Brooks (D+B) based in New York, hope to open up the interior of the Marine Drive Apartments to better connect it with the waterfront and the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, creating a mixed-use, mixed income development. They would also like to add educational, social and medical services to the project.

Finally, the Buffalo Equitable Housing Collaborative wants to re-do the layout of Shaffer Village, building on an empty lot and merging the property with the surrounding neighborhood. This would be done with a combination of new housing units and the renovation of existing ones. A large community center and the addition of on-site social services is also planned.

Agreements are expected to be in place by January, 2021 with construction expected to begin in 2022 or earlier. 

“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," said BMHA Executive Director Gillian Brown.

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