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Former Holy Family Elementary School To Be Transformed Into Affordable Senior Apartments

Jul 20, 2009
Press Release

BUFFALO – Congressman Brian Higgins, Mayor Byron W. Brown, Assemblyman Mark Schroeder and County Legislator Tim Kennedy, gathered together with Father Jim Cunningham, administrator of the Church of the Holy Family, to announce the procurement of $9 million for the development of the former Holy Family Elementary School into a 35-unit senior apartment complex in South Buffalo.

"For years this building was supported by families sending their children to school and now family will return to the corner of South Park and Tifft as this building is  returned to the community as a living center for seniors," said Congressman Higgins.

Located in a neighborhood that is a member of the Good Neighbor Planning Alliance (one of eleven areas designated in the City of Buffalo’s Comprehensive Plan), the Holy Family Senior Housing Development Project, when completed, will contain 30 one-bedroom apartments and 5 two-bedroom apartments in the three story structure. The 35-unit facility will be designed as affordable rental housing for persons of low and moderate income who are 55 years of age and older.

“This project is an example of the success we can achieve by working collaboratively toward the common goal of providing decent, affordable and safe housing for our city’s senior residents,” said Mayor Brown. “I’m pleased that my Administration was able to contribute $900,000 in HOME funds to help move this project forward and thus help it gain the necessary additional funding it needed. Thanks to the dedication of Erie County Legislator Tim Kennedy, NYS Assemblyman Mark Schroeder, Congressman Brian Higgins and Father Jim Cunningham, the Holy Family Senior Housing Development Project will be open and available to seniors in early 2011.”

"South Buffalo has an aging population and is in dire need of senior housing like this," said Assemblyman Schroeder.  "The Holy Family School is an ideal fit for the neighborhood's seniors, some of whom had attended the school as children.  This project will allow many lifelong South Buffalo residents to remain close to their friends and family, and still find housing that meets their needs as they enjoy their golden years."
"The Holy Family Senior Apartment Reconstruction Project is an incredible investment that is not only going to breathe new life into the former Elementary School, it is going to be transformational for our South Buffalo Community!" stated Legislator Tim Kennedy, who worked intimately with Delta Development over four years to ensure the project's success. "This major investment will complement the multimillion dollar South Park Avenue Reconstruction Project that has already begun. The net result will be a critical mass of public sector investment strategically focused on strengthening our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for everyone."

The project will put a particular emphasis on working with frail elderly residents and it will have minimum accessibility designation from three to nine units providing three HC units on each floor. The accessible units will include enhancement equipment for both the hearing and visually impaired individual. The apartments will all have an emergency call response system, smoke alarms, full bathrooms, living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens with appliances. The building will have a locked security entrance, indoor mailroom, resident storage, laundry facilities and fire and safety alarm systems.

"The parishoners of Holy Family Parish and I as administrator of Holy Family Parish are overjoyed by the recent decision to develop the former, now vacant, Holy Family School into senior apartments,” said Father Jim Cunningham, administrator of Holy Family Parish. “There is a great need for senior housing in South Buffalo, but there is also a great need for senior housing across the many communities of America. So we consider ourselves very fortunate and, indeed, blessed by this senior housing grant. Our sincere gratitude to all who have made this project possible."

Funding was secured through the vigorous efforts of elected leaders, along with Delta Development, the development arm of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, who worked diligently over the course of five years to see this project become a reality.

The project, which will be constructed by Christa Construction, is slated to begin between November 2009 and February 2010, with a one year timeframe for completion.

The Holy Family Elementary School is located at 1901 South Park Avenue and opened in 1915. Tens of thousands of South Buffalo children and families were educated in life as well as the Catholic traditions that were taught in the hallowed walls of this school. In 1960, Holy Family Elementary School had the distinction of being the largest parochial school in Western New York. This distinction led to the school being extended through the addition of another wing. Over the ensuing decades, enrollment significant decreased. The school was closed in June 2004 as part of the consolidation of Parochial Schools in the City of Buffalo.