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Building Update: Where Joel Giambra’s West Side housing projects stand

Building Update is a regular feature highlighting progress on development projects throughout the region.

Project name: West Side housing.

Address: 389 and 401 Prospect Ave., 424 Fargo Ave.

Developer: Joel A. Giambra/Executive Properties.

Cost: To be determined.

Description: New single- and multiple-family housing.

Completion date: Ongoing.

Lowdown: Former Erie County Executive Giambra is pushing forward with his new career in homebuilding.

Giambra, now a lobbyist and managing director at Park Strategies LLC, has filed proposals with the Buffalo Planning Board for three residential development projects on Buffalo’s West Side – the neighborhood where he grew up.

The former county executive, through Executive Properties, is seeking to build a triplex residential structure at 401 Prospect, a duplex and a single-family townhouse down the street at 389 Prospect, and three duplexes with six townhouses around the corner at 424 Fargo.

All three projects, totaling 12 townhouses, will be reviewed Monday afternoon by the Planning Board. The homes will sell for a starting base price of $191,000, depending on specific amenities.

The properties are among 18 vacant lots that Giambra has acquired in the last two years, mostly from the city’s foreclosure auction, and on which he’s planning to build a blend of single- and multiple-family homes. A prior single-family home was already approved for Seventh Street.

“We’re hoping to be pretty busy this summer, if all the financing comes through,” Giambra said. “The receptivity on the first house we did was pretty good, so I’m hoping for a similar situation.”

The new homes follow the previous city approval for his 20-unit Olmsted Apartments complex at 494-502 Seventh St., just south of Jersey Street.

That project entails two three-story market-rate apartment buildings, using five existing residential lots on 0.44 acres. Each building would have 10 units, including two handicapped-accessible efficiency units of 450 square feet each, and four two-bedroom units of 1,000 square feet each. The project also includes indoor parking for 16 cars, plus five off-street parking spaces. Work by Giambra’s partner, BRD Construction, is slated to begin shortly and finish in 2017.

Giambra also started a new property brokerage, construction, development and management firm called Buffalo First Realty Group.

– Jonathan D. Epstein