A project to turn six vacant properties in the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor into a $6.6 million project featuring 18 apartments, a restaurant and offices is getting nearly $200,000 in tax breaks through the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.
The Nash Lofts project will convert four buildings on Broadway and Nash Street that have been vacant for almost 20 years into apartments, along with a full-service restaurant and office space for the NAACP and Erie County Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams.
"This is one of those things that we looked at for a long time and wanted to save," said architect Steve Carmina. "The buildings are literally falling in on themselves."
The project will include 16 one-bedroom apartments and a pair of two-bedroom units, with sizes ranging from 600 square feet to 1,200 square feet, Carmina said. Rents will run from $1,280 to $1,450 a month.
Carmina said the projects' developers, Michigan Broadway LLC, are trying to keep the rents at levels that will be affordable to renters earning 10 percent less than the region's average income.
"These are for up and coming young people working downtown," he said.
The developers are funding the project with $3 million in bank loans, along with almost $350,000 of their own money. Another $1.2 million will come from federal historic tax credits, in addition to $905,000 in state historic tax credits and a $750,000 low-interest bridge loan from the Buffalo Urban Development Corp. The state also is providing $450,000 in funding.
The developers also are requesting a property tax break through a program administered by the city that offers greater savings over a longer term than the subsidies available through the IDA.
The historic properties are located at 163 and 167 Broadway and 52, 56, 58 and 60 Nash. Work could begin within a couple of weeks, Carmina said, with a completion date in July 2019.