Canisius College is celebrating the end of a longtime neighborhood revitalization project. The final house acquired and rehabilitated through the Hamlin Park Initiative is now completely fixed and available for purchase.
Canisius president John Hurley joined Buffalo Common Councilmember Ulysses Wingo and representatives of the Hamlin Park Community and Taxpayers Association to announce the property at 41 Hughes Avenue has been rehabilitated. When the Hamlin Park Initiative was launched in 2010, Canisius College dedicated eight houses that were set aside for student housing but later acquired two more, all of which were intended for repair and resale to the public.
Of the ten houses, the one at 41 Hughes required the most work. In all, the college invested approximately $500,000 to fix up the ten houses and have sold the other nine for about $700,000.
But not just to any buyer. Hurley explained they were looking to sell to homeowners who would agree to a 15-year promise to occupy the houses. The idea was to keep the houses from falling into the hands of absentee owners who might rent them out and allow them to fall back into disrepair.
'We found people who were willing to buy our improved houses and agree to be owner-occupiers," said Hurley. "I think if you go over on to Glendale (where six houses in the program are located), you see the results of that. You see flower boxes, gardens, you see other home improvements being taken on by adjacent owners, and you see a sense of community emerging on a street that had largely been a transient block of renters."
Canisius alumni Alex and Will Severyn, through their company Ambitious Enterprises Inc., led the renovation of the house at 41 Hughes. The college has also donated two houses beyond the Initiative, one located on Eastwood Place and the second on Glendale Place, to Habitat for Humanity.