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BMHA sets in motion redevelopment initiative for Commodore Perry, Marine Drive and Shaffer Village

Buffalo community leader wants BMHA to hire its residents not outside contractors
Posted at 2:40 PM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 14:40:08-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority announced Thursday its board of commissioners voted unanimously to enter negotiations with three development groups to "re-envision, re-develop and re-position the Commodore Perry, Marine Drive and Shaffer Village housing developments."

“The redevelopment of the Perry, Shaffer and Marine Drive developments represents an extraordinary opportunity to reshape the face of public housing in the City of Buffalo. The three teams selected today represent a mix of extremely knowledgeable and committed national and local developers with demonstrated track records of success, said BMHA Executive Director Gillian D. Brown.

In February BMHA issued a national request for qualifications to identify individual developers interested in taking on the project.

Officials say 17 firms and groups submitted qualifications, 10 went through initial interviews and seven were selected to present.

BMHA says the the committee selected the following groups based on the proposals and qualifications:

Commodore Perry - Pennrose LLC, headquartered in New York, NY

Pennrose proposes to redevelop Perry as a bridge between Canalside and Larkinville, updating and expanding the 2014 Perry Choice Plan, bringing life back to acres of Perry which has hundreds of vacant, dilapidated apartment buildings. WRT Design + Planning, the Philadelphia, firm which created the Perry Choice plan, will be part of the Pennrose team.

  • 50 years as a private, full-service real estate development firm;
  • One of the nation’s leading developers of mixed-income and mixed-finance developers with 4,500 units totaling over $1.3 billion since 2015;
  • Strong relationship with HUD regionally and nationally;
  • Pennrose team has vast experience in all facets of pre-development process, with high levels of engagement of residents, stakeholders and elected officials.

Marine Drive – The Habitat Co., Chicago, IL and Duvernay + Brooks (D+B), New York, NY

The Habitat/D&B team proposes to rethink the entire layout of Marine Drive and create a mixed-income, mixed use development. The team would like to open up the interior of the property to better connect it to the waterfront and Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park. The firms would also like to add educational, social and medical services to Marine Drive.

  • Habitat Co./Duvernay + Brooks team has 70 years of combined experience in affordable housing finance and development;
  • 15,000 affordable and mixed-income housing units valued at $2.7 billion, including projects with five public housing authorities in New York State;
  • D+B is a state-certified woman-owned business and both firms have strong track records on utilization of local minority and women-owned and small businesses for their projects.

Shaffer Village – Buffalo Equitable Housing Collaborative (a partnership of The Richman Group, Stamford, CT, JHM Financial Group, New York, NY and Penman Development Partners, of Buffalo)

The BEH team proposes to expand Shaffer by changing its layout, building on an empty lot and merging the property boundaries with the surrounding neighborhood. Its vision includes a combination of new construction and renovation of existing housing units, adding a large community center and addition of onsite social services.

  • Strong track record with financing and constructing affordable housing;
  • Deep experience working with HUD and public housing authorities;
  • Mix of regional and local development experience with a combined portfolio of more than 150,000 housing units valued at over $1 billion.

BMHA Executive Director Gillian D. Brown may now negotiate with the development teams and enter into master developer agreements which are anticipated by Brown to be in place by January 2021. Physical construction is anticipated to begin in 2022 or earlier if possible.

“Obviously, COVID-19 imposes new challenges on the public planning process, but we are hopeful that a robust and inclusive planning process can be accomplished during 2021, so that construction can begin as soon as possible, said Brown. "These projects will all involve multiple phases, and many millions of dollars in public and private financing.”

The BMHA board also approved a contract to replace six roofs on high-rise apartment towers in the Perry complex which will begin spring of 2021 and install a replacement boiler at 124 Fulton Street.