NIAGARA FALLS – A Syracuse-based nonprofit is considering some residential development in the downtown area.
Housing Visions, which completed the $8 million Lockport Canal Homes development last year, is looking at a number of city-owned, school district-owned and privately owned properties in the area of Fifth, Sixth and Seventh streets, said Seth A. Piccirillo, head of the city’s Community Development Department.
“It’s a struggling neighborhood,” Piccirillo said.
The housing would be an in-fill development, meaning the housing would be built up among existing housing stock.
The nine parcels include five that are city-owned – two vacant homes on Seventh, two vacant lots on Seventh and a parking lot on Walnut Avenue.
The properties owned by the city school district include the former administration building at 607 Walnut, as well as garages and warehouse space on Sixth Street.
For the YWCA of Niagara, the proposed development means the next phase for one of its projects.
The YWCA operates Carolyn’s House, where the agency provides programs for homeless women, many of whom are the victims of domestic violence.
The agency was given some property on Fifth Street and is looking to develop permanent affordable housing for women, including some who have completed the program at Carolyn’s House.
“Our board has been evaluating how to do that for several years,” said Kathleen A. Granchelli, CEO of the YWCA of Niagara.
While it’s still in the planning stages, YWCA officials foresee town house development of approximately 15 to 18 units, Granchelli said.
The YWCA of Niagara worked with Housing Visions on its Lockport project. The agency provides case management for residents in nine of the affordable housing units built in the Genesee Street corridor, she said.
Wednesday, the city Planning Board will consider whether to recommend that the City Council go forward with the sale of city-owned parcels.
Piccirillo, who has visited the original units Housing Visions completed in Syracuse, said he has heard good things about the nonprofit group from officials in the City of Lockport. That’s where Housing Visions invested $8 million in 33 new housing units.
The group also has funded projects in Auburn, Binghamton, Buffalo, Cortland, Oswego, Rome and Utica.
It has completed 300 buildings with more than 1,000 total units.
“The reason we went after Housing Visions is because of their track record,” Piccirillo said.
A representative of Housing Visions could not be reached to comment.