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Downtown development spurring growth in forgotten neighborhoods

render courtesy of Savarino Companies

Downtown development continues to spread out into areas of the city which haven't seen much in a long time.

The city Planning Board is grappling with a request for a single-family home on Louisiana near Ohio, heart of The First Ward. Construction is different because there is a lot of wood but the plan involves some of those old shipping containers. The Planning Board held off on approval until the prospective owner and the architect can meet with the Valley Community Association about the design.

"We are using five containers. The main body of the house is still going to be standard stick frame construction," explained architect Michael Anderson.

"We are using containers for a mixture of habitated uses. The bathroom on the second floor will be a container. The kitchen which is this part coming out, the cantilever, will be in a container."

The site is immediately adjacent to the booming Ohio Street Corridor with its new pavement and two apartment buildings under construction.

Besides its apartment building on Ohio Street, Savarino Companies is also taking over the former St. Clare's School a few blocks away on Elk Street for conversion into 11 market-rate apartments and some retail space. It needs a zoning change. The conversion is drawing praise as a sign of hope for the often-struggling Valley community.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.