Affordable Housing Project for Allentown Announced

August 15, 2014 Updated Aug 15, 2014 at 12:51 PM EDT

By John Borsa

August 15, 2014 Updated Aug 15, 2014 at 12:51 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Property values in Allentown are skyrocketing. Development on Buffalo's Medical Campus is driving up prices and demand for nearby property.

That is why two Buffalo developers are launching a $42.4 million project to revitalize several properties that already supply housing to working families.

"The idea was to take people that maybe have lower/middle income and were living in difficult areas and putting them in neighborhoods that were a little bit better," said Aaron Siegel of Franklin Asset Management, one of the developers tackling the project.

The concern: that rising property values will force low-to-middle income families out of the neighborhood.

"These are working class families in three or four bedroom units that are paying rent. They are working in the medical corridor. There are medium income people in that corridor," said the project's other developer, Brett Fitzpatrick of Somerset Properties.

The project involves 17 properties and ten apartment buildings, most of which already have tenants.

$13.5 million in tax breaks will come from state Historic Tax Credits and federal Affordable Housing Tax Credits.

The apartments must remain available for low-to-middle income working families for at least two decades, the developers said.

"The only way to do this - to get the financing - we had to sign the 20-year contract and we were happy to do it," said Siegel.

"It will be a mixed use environment that will keep people who are lower income but working. These are all working people," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

Almost 300 units will be refurbished with the funds.

Rents will range from $725 to $1,275 per month.