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People Inc., Sinatra kick off Jefferson Avenue Apartments construction

Change is coming to Jefferson Avenue.

Nonprofit People Inc. and developers Nick Sinatra and David Pawlik on Wednesday formally kicked off construction on their $31 million project to create affordable and supportive housing on the East Side, with local, state and federal politicians touting the venture as a significant piece of the area's revitalization.

The proposed Jefferson Avenue Apartments will consist of two three-story buildings at 1140 and 1166 Jefferson, with 89 affordable apartments, of which 16 will be reserved for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The buildings will include a mix of 71 one- and 19 two-bedroom apartments, a community room with a small kitchen, on-site laundry, balconies for all apartments, a playground, green space and courtyards, and off-street parking. People Inc. will provide support services for tenants who need them.

"I'm proud to help move the construction of the Jefferson Avenue Apartments forward, as well as to be part of the historic corridor and the community's vibrant history," said Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. president and CEO.

The first floors of both buildings will also include 16,500 square feet of commercial space, housing a People Inc. recruitment office and retail shops geared to provide services for both tenants and the neighborhood near the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion. The projects are being constructed on two formerly vacant lots owned by Sinatra & Co. Real Estate.

People Inc., with nearly 4,000 employees, provides programs and services to more than 12,000 people with developmental disabilities and special needs and their families and seniors in Western New York and Greater Rochester.

The project is funded by $1.3 million in tax-exempt bonds and both low-income housing tax credits and brownfield cleanup tax credits totaling $14.6 million from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. There's also a $1.9 million loan from Empire State Development Corp.'s Better Buffalo Fund, HOME funds from the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency and $2.2 million in financing from the state's Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

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