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Western New York senior citizens will be able to choose from 116 "affordable, yet luxurious" one- and two-bedroom apartment units next spring when Seneca Pointe opens in West Seneca.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the X-shaped, two-story building at 1187 Orchard Park Road were held Monday, with Erie County Executive Gorski, federal Housing and Urban Development Department officials and Town Supervisor Paul Clark in attendance.

The project sits on 24 acres near Smokes Creek and will have community rooms with kitchen areas for entertaining, a library, TV lounge, hair salon and laundry facilities.

Each apartment will have a kitchen with breakfast bar, a dining area, living room and either one or two bedrooms. First-floor apartments will have patios, and upstairs units will open onto balconies.

Although the target market is persons older than 55, this is not an "assisted living" facility, developer Michael L. Joseph said. But there will be emergency-monitor systems in each unit in case a resident needs to summon help and is unable to reach a phone. Controlled entry with a key-pad lock system also will be a feature.

While not discussing rental prices, Joseph said the units would be competitive with other new rentals targeting middle-income residents.

"The average senior resident in Western New York is middle class, and nobody has been focusing on their needs as they look to downsize their lifestyle," Joseph said. "We want to provide quality housing geared to seniors' needs at prices they can afford."

The Amherst real estate investor is developing the $6 million project with mortgage insurance from the federal Housing and Urban Development Corp. for $5.6 million and county HUD block grant funds of $500,000 to help "eight fixed-budget senior families have access to these affordable apartments," Gorski said at Monday's groundbreaking.

Joseph's Clover Management now operates 20 apartment complexes with 2,400 apartments in the Buffalo area.

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