Construction begins on $23M housing project in East Buffalo

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Construction has started on a $23 million project to convert the former St. John Kanty Lyceum, a historic East Side Catholic school, into an affordable housing.

Work includes renovation of the three-story former school into residential units, along with 10 adjacent lots that will be redeveloped into parking, greenspace, an accessible playground and walking areas.

“We are excited to help bring this project to fruition with our talented development team,” said Kelly Kinderman, vice-president of program support and development for Community Services for Every1. “Community Services has a successful and long-standing commitment to increase the availability of safe, decent, and affordable housing.”

Classrooms and offices will be converted into 42 affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments, including 12 reserved for households needing supportive services along with a community room, laundry room, storage space and free high-speed Internet for residents.

“Apartments at the Lyceum demonstrates positive community impact and reuse of a significant neighborhood structure through public and private partnerships,” said Stephanie Benson, senior vice president of real estate development at Edgemere. “This type of partnership enables us to address state and local needs for affordable workforce housing.”

An existing kitchen, cafeteria and activity room will be renovated into a 7,600 square-foot community service hub for after-school programs, culinary arts, healthy eating education, and independent living and job readiness training.

The project also will include an electric-vehicle charging station, increased insulation, new lighting, new HVAC systems, and new windows and roofs. Also, no fossil fuels will be used on site.

Federal low-income housing tax credits valued at $8 million, federal and state historic tax credits worth $7 million, and $3.9 million in subsidies from New York State Homes and Community were approved.

“These awards address significant unmet needs for affordable and accessible housing in the City of Buffalo,” said Mindy Cervoni, CEO of Community Services for Every1. “Apartments at the historic St. John Kanty Lyceum will create Erie County’s first permanent supportive housing program explicitly developed for survivors of domestic violence and will allow Community Services to assist them with any factors that contribute to their housing instability.”

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