La Plaza de Virginia Project Completion Expected by Fall of 2022
Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo (HUB), a nonprofit organization that provides integrated social services to underserved communities in the Buffalo area, announced that it has commenced construction on La Plaza de Virginia, a $17.1 million 46-unit mixed-use affordable housing development serving low-income seniors ages 55 and above. Project completion is expected by the Fall of 2022.
This innovative project will combine elements of green building design that promote environmental sustainability, while providing access to a robust array of supportive services and community resources. All 46 one-bedroom apartments will serve households with incomes at or below 60% of the area median income (AMI), with 14 Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) units set aside for formerly homeless seniors at or below 30% AMI, who will receive supportive services to assist them in transitioning into congregate housing and achieving housing stability.
La Plaza de Virginia is made possible with the support of a combination of public and private capital, including financing from the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), Empire State Development (ESD) – Better Buffalo Fund Program, the City of Buffalo’s Urban Renewal Agency (BURA), Citizens, the National Equity Fund (NEF), and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The overall project funding totals approximately $17.1 million.
“Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo (HUB) is proud to continue expanding our footprint in the community through this all-encompassing senior housing development, which will serve as a model for sustainability, affordability, and social service/healthcare integration. We deeply value the support of Governor Cuomo, Mayor Brown and the City of Buffalo, the State Senate, our umbrella organization Acacia Network, and our partners, including Empire State Development, NYSERDA, the National Equity Fund and Citizens, in order to make this project possible,” says Eugenio Russi, Executive Director of HUB.
“Acacia Network and HUB are grateful to the Administration of Governor Cuomo for its commitment to affordable and supportive housing in the Upstate Region. As a Buffalonian who has dedicated his life’s work to improving the quality of life in underserved communities across New York State, it is a dream come true to see our vision realized in the West Side of Buffalo, especially in the heart of Virginia Street, a block which I patrolled during my early days as a police officer over 30 years ago,” says Raul Russi, President & CEO of Acacia Network, the largest Hispanic-led nonprofit in New York State and the parent organization of HUB.
Stieglitz Snyder Architecture led the design of the 3-story project, to be constructed by Kulback’s Construction, both of which are based in Buffalo, NY. Property Management services will be provided by Rochester’s Cornerstone Group, and the Social and Supportive Services will be coordinated through Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo (HUB), an affiliate of Acacia Network.
La Plaza de Virginia will feature a 4,000 sq. ft. communal courtyard, lounge, and laundry rooms on each floor, a 5,500 sq. ft. community Senior Service Center, as well as on-site supportive services and property management. Among the supportive services to be offered to tenants, HUB will provide comprehensive care management, substance use and mental health support, counseling, social day care, transportation, medication self-management, health care coordination, advocacy, recreation, educational and training workshops, as well as referrals and linkage to community-based services.
In addition, the project will allocate community facility space to provide primary health care services to tenants and local community residents, including offices for medical professionals and exam rooms with Telehealth capabilities. A small café on the first floor of the project will take up the balance of the commercial space to provide access for healthy food to our building tenants and the public at large.
Mayor Byron Brown, Chair of the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency, which allocated $950,000 in HOME funding toward this project, stated: “Congratulations to the entire development team at Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo on this $17.1 million project that will bring much-needed and affordable housing, as well as a full range of health and human services, to low-income seniors in Buffalo. This is another example of the great public-private partnerships that are underway in our community, making Buffalo stronger, more equitable, just and inclusive for all people.”
“As our nation continues to face an affordable housing crisis, our state and extraordinary partners like Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo remain committed to investing in new housing opportunities that will bring supportive, sustainable resources directly into the communities that need them,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “With assistance from New York State and the City of Buffalo, this project is truly a team effort, and I’m thrilled to see the incredible vision of HUB move one step closer to becoming a reality.”
Doreen M. Harris, Acting President and CEO of NYSERDA said, “Incorporating sustainable and climate resilient features into newly constructed homes for our most vulnerable citizens is pivotal to creating the next generation of healthy, low-carbon buildings as we realize Governor Cuomo’s goals for an equitable and just transition to a carbon neutral economy. We applaud Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo for their commitment to the environment and their community and congratulate them on beginning construction at La Plaza de Virginia.”
“National Equity Fund is pleased to support Acacia Network and its affiliates in the development of La Plaza de Virginia. The goals of this ambitious development align with our mission to deliver innovative solutions to expand the availability of affordable housing nationwide. The senior residents of La Plaza de Virginia will benefit from the mental health support, recreational activities, transportation services and more that the property will provide. The activities and energy around this new project will also enhance the vibrancy of downtown Buffalo,” said Emily Chen, VP & Regional Team Leader, National Equity Fund, Inc.
“Citizens serves as both an investor and a construction loan provider for La Plaza de Virginia and is committed to working together with our developer partners to support more affordable housing options for Upstate New York residents,” said J. Theodore Smith, President, Upstate New York Region, Citizens. “Buffalo is an important market for Citizens and this project meets a critically important need in our community.”
Through La Plaza de Virginia, HUB will strive to ensure that vulnerable seniors are able to achieve housing stability; a reduction in hospitalizations and emergency room visits through increased connections to primary care; medication compliance; improved independent living skills; mental health stability and wellness, as well as substance use treatment for those struggling with addiction.
Governor Cuomo announced the start of construction in a press release issued on February 11, 2021. CLICK HERE TO READ THE GOVERNOR’S ANNOUNCEMENT!