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Ex-YWCA to become senior housing

The old YWCA on North Street near Elmwood Avenue will be turned into a housing complex for low-income senior citizens.

Built 81 years ago as a residence for women, the five-story structure at 245 North St. in the Allentown Historic Preservation District has been vacant since 2005. It was most recently used as a housing facility for women with mental health problems.

The building's $7.8 million conversion into 63 units of rental housing for senior citizens is being partially funded with $3.9 million in revenue bonds approved last week by the New York State Housing Finance Agency. The project also will benefit from federal housing tax credits and historic rehabilitation tax credits.

The North Street Y Senior Apartments are being developed by E Square Capital and CWG Development Associates. E Square bought the 100,000-square-foot building in 2005 for $700,000. The owner put the structure back on the market earlier this year, with a $2.2 million asking price.

Eran Epstein of E Square Capital stressed in February that he had architectural plans and financing in hand to move forward with the planned apartments for senior citizens, but wanted to first "test the waters" to see if a buyer would meet his asking price.

The project, which is expected to be completed sometime next year, will include 46 parking spaces, a community room, laundry facilities and landscaped outdoor seating areas.

Priscilla Almodovar, president and CEO of the state Housing Finance Agency, said the project serves two goals.

"It creates much-needed housing for low-income senior citizens in Buffalo and also preserves the historic YWCA building," Almodovar said in a written statement.

The 63 units will be occupied by households with at least one member who is 55 or older, and who meet income eligibility requirements. One additional unit will be reserved for the building superintendent.


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