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Heritage Manor studio apartments eyed in Hamburg

A Buffalo developer plans to convert the former Heritage Manor adult home in Hamburg into 66 studio apartments under a $1.2 million project.

The developer, DJ Reeves Real Estate, has submitted plans to convert the building on Lakeshore Road in Hamburg, which has been vacant since the adult home closed in 2002, into apartments that will be targeted toward business people working on temporary assignments.

Project organizers are seeking about $210,000 in property, sales and mortgage tax breaks through the Hamburg Industrial Development Agency, said Michael Bartlett, the agency's executive director.

While IDAs typically do not aid housing projects, Bartlett said the agency will consider granting tax breaks to the Heritage Manor conversion effort because it would take a long-vacant building and renovate it.

Local IDAs are increasingly backing so-called "adaptive reuse" projects to encourage the redevelopment of properties that have been vacant for at least three years.

"It fits right into that adaptive reuse," Bartlett said.

The apartments will be marketed toward business tenants, who may be transferred into the area or are on a temporary assignment lasting a few months and need an apartment on a short-term basis, Bartlett said.

The developer, Donald Reeves, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The project has been greeted with skepticism by the Frontier School Board, which has a seat on the IDA board.

Frontier Board Vice President Stanley Figiel said the project doesn't meet the criteria initially envisioned for the creation of IDAs. Some board members said it becomes a question of whether the IDA should subsidize housing or enhance jobs, and the project is only projected to create 1 1/2 jobs.

News staff reporter Karen Robinson contributed to this story.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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