The city of Buffalo is hoping to transform two vacant blocks on Jefferson Avenue into two brand new apartment buildings.
"This is a $31 million investment: two buildings, 89 apartments, commercials space," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
The project is a collaboration between New York State Homes and Community Renewal and People Inc. The complex will have 16 apartments set aside for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"This is the way we all need to be thinking so that we can make sure that people with developmental disabilities are embraced and a part of our community and have all the opportunities that you and I have," said Ellen Hard with the state Office For People With Developmental Disabilities.
Brown said the project is just one of several underway, aimed at revitalizing the Jefferson Avenue Corridor.
"It is also the new Jefferson Avenue Northwest Bank branch that is nearing completion, the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center that will officially open in 2019, expanded free wireless from Blue Wireless on Jefferson Avenue, the Financial Education and Literacy Center in partnership with Belmont Housing and Northwest Bank," Brown said.
"I think it's a great collaboration,” said Larry Stitts, owner of Golden Cup Coffee Company at the corner of Jefferson and East Utica. “The East Side of Buffalo needs an anchor project to make it thrive and I think this is what's happening here.”
He thinks the apartments could help attract more investment to the neighborhood.
"It's going to bring other businesses in here to see the first-class apartments and businesses that they're going to bring in here, that's going to make the East Side of Buffalo and Jefferson Avenue the place to be," Stitt said.
Sinatra and Company Real Estate as well as Bellamy Enterprises are partnering on the project. The completion date for the project has not been set.