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Council, developers add affordable housing to Elmwood Crossing

MIke Desmond/WBFO

The amount of affordable housing in Buffalo is continuing to creep upward. On Thursday, the city's Common Council revised its approval of a Planned Unit Development designation for the Elmwood Crossing project. The big change mandates that 20 percent of the several hundred rental apartments must be affordable.

"We were able to talk them into doing it," said Council Majority Leader David Rivera.

"There's a niche for affordable housing and there's a niche for market rate. We just have to make sure that we don't displace people, that there are places where they can live in very affluent areas."

Affordable housing has been an issue for a while because development has forced up the rents in even bad housing. As Rivera points out, the need is slowly being met. The 201 Ellicott project in the heart of Downtown started as luxury housing and is now being built as 201 units of affordable housing.

At Elmwood Crossing, People Inc. is buying one of the old Women and Children's Hospital buildings along Hodge Avenue. It will be renovated into affordable units.

Sinatra and Company Development Director Amy Nagy says the project is falling into line.

"Next step, we have the Edu-Kids day care that has been submitted to the Planning Board. People Inc., a portion of the project, obviously, submitted to Planning Board and then the town homes will go to Planning Board next."

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.