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The Lackawanna Municipal Housing Authority was asked Tuesday evening to obtain tax-free bonds to finance a $4.5 million senior citizens housing development in the Town of Hamburg.

Sponsored by Our Lady of Victory Hospital, Brierwood Senior Housing would be built next to Brierwood Country Club at Southwestern Boulevard and Amsdell Road.

The hospital already operates Brierwood Medical Center on the property, which is not quite five miles from the Lackawanna city line.

Officials for the hospital and Burke Bros. Construction reminded the housing commissioners that the Kenmore Housing Authority last month agreed to issue $8.8 million in bonds to help the University at Buffalo build student housing on Ridge Lea in Amherst.

"This sort of thing has been done for 25 years," Charles Barone Jr., executive director of the housing authority, told the commissioners. "The board has to decide whether it's good for the housing authority, because it's outside the city."

Asked about financial risk, Rocco Termini, a housing consultant for Our Lady of Victory Hospital, assured the board that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would stand behind the bonds.

"All you're doing is acting as a conduit for the financing," he said.

The Lackawanna Housing Authority would receive about $75,000 in fees and, after paying its own legal fees and other costs, would net about $40,000, Termini added.

John P. Davanzo, president and chief executive officer of the hospital, said Hamburg has a waiting list of 2 1/2 to five years for affordable senior citizens housing, and tenants of Brierwood would be potential clients of Our Lady of Victory Hospital as well as its medical center on the Hamburg property.

"We are not ignoring Lackawanna, we are not abandoning Lackawanna," he said, "but we also need to go further afield. We have experienced a decreased patient load. To keep OLV Hospital intact and flourishing, we need satellites in Hamburg, Orchard Park, Derby and North Collins. This is a survival game."

Asked how Lackawanna residents would benefit, Davanzo said they could retire to nearby Brierwood, although they could not receive priority by law. He said 200 of the hospital's employees live in Lackawanna.

The development would start with 60 units for senior citizens 60 and older who meet income limits. Rents would be $350 for one bedroom and $425 for two bedrooms, plus utilities.

The board voted to table the matter for study by Barone and Oscar Smukler, attorney for the housing authority.

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