Developer Nick Sinatra’s $15.3 million plan to convert part of the Pierce Arrow complex into 72 apartments was granted $615,000 in tax breaks Wednesday by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.
The project would convert a 95,000-square-foot section of warehouse within the complex at 157 Great Arrow Ave. into one- and two-bedroom apartments. The project also will set aside about 3,000-square-feet of space for an “amenity-based tenant” and parking for about 100 vehicles.
Rents are expected to range between $882 and $1,386 for one-bedroom units with 700 to 1,100 square feet of space, and $1,386 and $2,000 a month for two-bedroom apartments with 1,100- to 1,450 square feet of space.
The apartments will be targeted toward empty nesters, aged 50 and up.
The project rekindled an ongoing debate over the lack of affordable housing units in the apartment projects that have received tax breaks through the IDA in recent years. A half dozen representatives of community activist group PUSH-Buffalo attended the meeting – and raised objections to subsidies for a project they said would contribute to the gentrification of the neighborhood.
Sinatra said the tax breaks were essential because the project will require extensive upgrades to a 101-year-old building that has never been used for residential purposes.
The site also is likely to require environmental cleanup work that will cost in the “high six figures,” Sinatra said.
The developer, Sinatra & Co. Real Estate, also is seeking $3 million in historic tax credits to help finance the project, as well as property tax breaks from a program administered by the City of Buffalo.
While the IDA generally does not provide tax breaks for housing projects, the agency said the Sinatra plan qualified for incentives because it would convert a structure that has been underused for more than 25 years. A portion of the building currently is being used to store cars.
Sinatra hopes to start construction by the end of winter and have the apartments ready for occupancy by the spring of 2019.