Editorial: Intriguing proposal for mixed-income housing on East Side - The Buffalo News
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Editorial: Intriguing proposal for mixed-income housing on East Side

If plans for mixed-income housing on the East Side get off the ground, it could signal the change many have called for in that part of the city. The fact that there is a proposal on the table by a trio of developers is a positive sign.

As recently reported in The News, the developers specialize in affordable housing and they want to use their expertise on what would be a “signature” project.

Stuart Alexander and Associates has partnered with Rhonda Ricks and SCG Development. The group is proposing a new residential community on an empty 13-acre lot at 490 Broadway, once home to Buffalo Forge Manufacturing.

The new multiphase project involving 185 apartments and retail space would be called the Forge on Broadway. The site is Broadway and Mortimer Street. Project cost: $48 million. Financing details are yet to be made public.

There is potential in drawing tenants from the professional pool at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and other interested prospects. The developers specialize in mixed-income housing, which would be the focus of 185 units in the first phase, 80 percent reserved for residents earning at or below $67,300, or 60 percent of the median income for a family of four in Erie County. Tenants in the remaining 20 percent of apartments would earn between 60 percent and 120 percent of the median, or up to $87,490.

Developers would incorporate active use features attractive to millennials and baby boomers alike, such as a fitness center, a bicycle-sharing program, an outdoor jogging and walking track, electric-car charging stations and healthy cooking classes. Similar amenities are popping up at other developments in downtown Buffalo. That scores on healthy living fronts. This project also would include “active design” features, such as a “green roof” over some of the parking area for exercise or a community garden, another feature that makes good use of otherwise blank space.

The developers are working with Active Design Center of New York City, “which supports the use of public areas for more physical activity through using stairs, exercise equipment and outdoor space,” as reported in The News.

Along with the potential 10,000 to 15,000 square feet of commercial space for retail or services for residents and surrounding neighborhoods, the longtime industrial space would be transformed into a vibrant and diverse mix.

Many of the details have yet to be decided and the development partners, operating as SAA KC Buffalo Forge LLC, have yet to formally unveil the concept to the public, expected to happen at a community meeting on Thursday.

Right now, it is a possible project with great potential. Stay tuned.

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