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$42 million West Side rehabs a hometown 'labor of love'

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Several rundown buildings on Buffalo's West Side, owned for years by an absentee landlord, are now in new hands. Two young local investors, Aaron Siegel and Brett Fitzpatrick, have purchased 17 properties that offer affordable housing, including the Red Jacket Building at Main and Allen streets. The buildings include about 300 apartments.

Siegel, who is president of Franklin Asset Management, says the properties will be upgraded over the next 15 months.

"We're going to go in, gut the apartments, rehab them, and give the tenants much better places to live," Siegel said.

Siegel says the purchase price and renovation costs for all the properties totals $42.4 million. New York State is providing a majority of the financing through Affordable Housing Tax and Historic Tax Credits. The two partners are chipping in $13.5 million.

"This is a labor of love. Brett and I grew up in Buffalo. We love it here. To be able to buy these buildings we've been driving by since we were kids and be able to do something positive with them, there's nothing more exciting than that," Siegel added.

The properties include, 12 Allen St.; 926 Main St.; 922 Main St.; 87 Mariner St.; 87 Whitney Place; 231 West Ave.; 361-77 Busti Ave.; 105-109 Hudson St.; 279-281 Niagara St.; 174 Carolina St.; 176 Carolina St.; 279 Niagara St.; 281 Niagara St.; 76 Grant St.; 346 Franklin St.; 354 Franklin St.; 333 Linwood Ave.

“With momentum continuing to build in Buffalo, this acquisition by Buffalo natives, along with the coming renovations to these buildings, is significant and great news for city residents, particularly those who are faced with the challenge of finding high-quality affordable housing,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

First built as a private residence for $50,000 in 1894, the Red Jacket takes its name from a Seneca Nation chief who befriended George Washington.

After the improvements, Siegel says the properties will continue to offer affordable housing for city residents. Proposed rents range from $750 to $1,275.