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Nonprofit struggles to land funding for East Side school conversion

A suburban Rochester nonprofit that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities had hoped to be well on its way to converting a former Buffalo school into 46 units of affordable housing, after getting approval for the project last December.

Instead, CDS Monarch, of Webster, was back before the Buffalo Planning Board Monday to obtain a one-year extension for its $16.3 million renovation of the three-story former School 78, at 321 Olympic Ave.

The planned one- and two-bedroom apartments will be aimed at low-income tenants, with a portion set aside for CDS clients.

CDS – part of CDS Life Transitions – is seeking capital funding and tax credits from the state's Homes and Community Renewal, but was not successful in its application last year. Officials said they feel more encouraged this time.

The agency had originally agreed to secure the financing by May 2019, close by September 2019 and complete construction by the end of December 2020. Construction is expected to take about 12 months, according to the application.

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