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Planning Board approves East Side housing project

Silvestri Architects PC
Rendering of new housing presented to Buffalo Planning Board

New affordable housing is coming to Kensington Avenue on a Buffalo site where the principal industry vanished decades ago.

The site at 240 Kensington Avenue near Fillmore Avenue was once Hewitt-Robbins, a company that closed nearly four decades ago. Since then, the building has sat and deteriorated.

Now, an alliance of developers, David Pawlik and Nick Sinatra, has put together a complicated $8 million deal for 40 housing units on part of the old industrial site. The goal is to start construction in November and be open in the fall. Pawlik said it is a complicated structure to build because the soil is tricky.

"The environmental issues are not a concern there. The concerns really are the conditions of the rubble that's underneath," he said. "When we did our geotechnical report, typically you would go in and typically do a foundation. We're doing somewhere between 40-44 caissons to build our foundations to build our structure. That's what makes this project complicated."

However, he said it is a good location and a convenient site for tenants.

"The City of Buffalo actually demolished the site and it's been sitting vacant 10, 15 years," Pawlik said. "We like this location. It's really close to the Beltway of entering and exiting the city. You're about 2 1/2 blocks away from Sisters Hospital, the train station, a really nice community and we saw this as a great opportunity to bring additional housing."

Rents are expected to run $800-$925 with a mix of one- and two-bedroom units.

"It's not geared for larger families," Pawlik said. "It's only one and two bedrooms, but we are designing it state of the art. It means a lot of amenities we're bringing into play. We think that Jeff Hazel, his team at Silvestri, have really done an unbelievable job of designing this project, that it's going to be something that the community in the surrounding area is just going to love to see."

There were some objections before the City Planning Board approved the plan Monday, questioning a building so close to the railroad Belt Line and whether the structure should be closer to the street so parking could be behind it and more toward the rail line.

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