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Reuse project transforms vacant building into affordable housing

A brand new, affordable housing complex six years in the making is now complete. 

On Tuesday morning, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, also known as HOME, dedicated the Oxford Commons Apartments at 1542 Main Street on the corner of Ferry Street.

It took a lengthy, joint effort to transform the formerly vacant 19th century building into new housing. Masten District Council member Demone Smith says HOME, the state, and city joined forces to help complete the $2.9 million project.

"Some people got together and did the right thing," Smith said.

HOME executive director Scott Gehl praised Mayor Byron Brown for offering financial assistance to help complete the reconstruction.

"We had some environmental issues, we had some delays, we had some increased costs," said Gehl. "The City of Buffalo increased its investment in its project to a half-million dollars."

HOME acquired the architecturally-significant parcel from local preservationist and developer Scot Fisher.

"Scot really became taken with this project and was incredibly supportive and incredibly patient as we put together the financing to make all of this work," said Gehl.

Oxford Commons features 10 new housing units, two of which are fully accessible to people with mobility impairments. The three-story building is also HOME’s new headquarters. Tenants will begin moving in next month.