10/11/2011Posted by MJ
The Buffalo News reported that work has begun on the Housing Visions project in the Genessee - Pine area.
The long-awaited makeover of one of the city’s most run-down residential areas is under way.
Housing Visions, the Syracuse based nonprofit agency, began digging foundations last week for the first three of the nine apartment houses it intends to erect on and near Genesee Street.
That area, just south of downtown, for years has been the epicenter of drug dealing and other crime in Lockport.
The $8.6 million project is projected for completion in December 2012, according to Ben Lockwood, director of development for Housing Visions. The first apartments will be available for rent next summer.
Alderman Jack L. Smith Jr., who lives nearby, is a former block club president who recruited Housing Visions to come to Lockport after learning of its success in constructing clean housing in distressed areas in other upstate cities....As for the final funding:
...The City of Lockport a year ago granted Housing Visions a 20-year property tax exemption on what are to be called Lockport Canal Homes.
Lockwood said the primary funding source for the project was the sale of $5.8 million in low-income housing tax credits to Enterprise Community Partners, a national low-income housing organization.
State low-interest loans directly to Housing Visions paid most of the rest, although Lockwood said the city contributed $40,000 in addition to making a couple of foreclosed properties available for $1
The designs weren't all that they could have been but that is what happens when city wide design guidelines do not exist. People spend a lot of time arguing over number based zoning when it's the actual forms of the structures and their placements which have the biggest effects.
Let's hope the city supplements this new construction with some infrastructure improvement of their own and some special incentives for private owners in the area.
Update: Historical image for comments.