Create a bigger, better Buffalo but make it inclusive. That's the goal for commercial real estate developers in Western New York.
The Commercial Real Estate Development Association hosted a panel at the Hyatt in Downtown Buffalo to discuss affordable housing strategies in the growing Queen City.
The Buffalo Common Council is proposing new legislation that would require 30 percent of all new apartments built in the city to have affordable housing units. The plans for inclusionary zoning have developers worried because the plans would come without funding from the city or the state. Local developers worry this will deter companies from creating new projects.
"Not much has happened here in the past 50 years. We need a fresh coat of paint," says Bob Richardson, President of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. Richardson says the city, the county and developers need to work together to create inclusionary zoning that would benefit both residents who need affordable housing and development companies.
Michael Riegel, President of Belmont Housing Resources of Western New York says the city needs more affordable housing. Nearly 20,000 families are on a waiting list for tenant based rental assistance. Riegel believes creating housing options for rent-burdened residents, while continuing to grow the region with new projects is essential in creating fair and new opportunities for jobs, learning and transportation in what he says is a severely segregated region.
The legislation by the Common Council is still in the works and panelists hope they can find a way to work together to approach new development together.