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Niagara Street affordable housing project to benefit from pension fund investment

A new 48-unit low-income affordable housing project on Buffalo's West Side is benefiting from a significant investment by the state pension fund in Community Preservation Corp.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund has agreed to nearly quadruple its prior funding commitment to the Community Preservation Corp., enabling a major increase in affordable housing initiatives. CPC said the pension fund will provide $710 million as part of a revolving line of credit that will finance multi-family housing developments for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers statewide.

Community Preservation Corp. currently has more than two dozen projects in its pipeline, with more than 1,480 units throughout upstate New York. That includes 270 Niagara St., the 48-unit project in Buffalo, which will get $500,000 in permanent financing through the Common Retirement Fund.

"This funding agreement significantly increases our lending capacity and ability to have a greater impact in communities large and small throughout the state,"  said Rafael E. Cestero, president and CEO of CPC, which opened a Buffalo office this year.

Besides raising CPC's permanent lending capabilities, the added support will let CPC lower its loan threshold for projects, offering permanent loans as low as $250,000 so it can help small building owners who may not have access to money for purchasing, refinancing or renovating properties. Its past transactions have ranged as high as $25 million.

CPC, a nonprofit finance company that supports affordable housing and community revitalization, has used $9.7 billion in private and public investments since its founding in 1974 to finance over 170,660 units of affordable housing, including 500 Seneca and the Loew's Theater Warehouse project in Buffalo. Since 1991, it has invested $741 million from the state pension fund, financing 471 housing developments with more than 18,515 units. The state fund - the third-largest in the country – previously committed $200 million to CPC under a 2014 agreement.

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