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Poloncarz: Make living Downtown more affordable

Posted at 6:54 PM, Mar 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-29 18:54:50-04

The hustle and bustle in Downtown Buffalo is what Jose Rodriguez wants to experience everyday.

"Everything in the Downtown area is getting more flourished," said Rodriguez. "We're getting a lot more life than what Buffalo has had in the last 40-50 year."

Rodriguez got a taste of the "Downtown lifestyle" Wednesday afternoon, while helping his friend move out of his Ellicott Street apartment.

"The apartment is glorious," said Rodriguez. "They've got the stainless steel finishing, the second level floors. It's very beautiful."

30-year-old Rodriguez, who has a full-time job, said that for the price, that's not enough. So he settled for what he can afford, as close as possible to the Downtown energy he loves so much.

"Basically, to live in an apartment down here I would have to pick up a a part-time job, 20 hours a week extra, just to be able to maintain myself and be at a state that I'm comfortable living down here in this area" said Rodriguez, who lives on Niagara Street.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz believes developers who are building Downtown lofts shouldn't get tax breaks, and if they are seeking them, then they must include cheaper apartments in their projects for people who want to live in them, like Rodriguez.

He tweeted Wednesday morning:

But 29-year-old Barry Rebholz who lives on Franklin Street says it's possible to find affordable housing Downtown like he did, paying $500 a month.

"It could be $500 to $1,000, depending on the size," said Rebholz. "Across the street there are luxury apartments starting in $1,000 all the way to $2,500. I feel like revenue, money coming into Buffalo, new life being breathed in is a good thing but we shouldn't lose our soul in the process."