Eunice Lewin sees the renaissance taking place on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and the economic benefits it is bringing to downtown Buffalo.
But she wants to help break down the “invisible line,” as she puts it, that is keeping the fruits of that revival from reaching the people who live in the neighborhoods surrounding the campus.
That’s why Lewin, a veteran community volunteer, in 2015 took on a plan to develop town homes and multi-unit buildings, with some retail, on vacant, oddly shaped lots throughout the adjoining Cold Spring neighborhood.
The City of Buffalo asked Lewin’s Impacto Consulting company to be the developer for most of the city-owned lots.
Her hope is to revive a section of the city that has suffered from decline and neglect, by taking advantage of its proximity to the flourishing medical campus. If tax credits for the project are approved, construction could begin this fall.
“My passion for this project is really my purpose, and I’m just looking forward to the impact this will have, not just on the neighborhood but beyond,” she told The Buffalo News in November. “I’m not from this country. To whom much is given, much is expected. Buffalo has given me an opportunity, and it is the moment to make this happen.”
The native of Cuba emigrated to the United States 40 years ago and moved to the Buffalo area with her husband, Norman, who served for 30 years as a cardiac surgeon at Buffalo General Medical Center.
Lewin initially volunteered for Catholic Charities, before studying at the University at Buffalo and working for three decades as a social worker with the Buffalo Public Schools.
She later gave her time to Roswell Park and the Buffalo Urban League, and helped to start the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. She also has served as a member of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s board of directors.
“She’s very driven. She’s very authentic, and she knows how to get people to listen and to respond. Those are critical skill sets that have made her very successful,” said James Dentinger, president of McGuire Development, who worked with Lewin on the Urban League board and other issues. – Stephen T. Watson