Residents of an apartment complex in downtown Buffalo are upset by a new plan to raze and rebuild the housing on the grounds which requires their departure by the end of October. The mayor was asked Tuesday whether the city can do anything to ensure they're given an adequate alternative.
Norstar Development is planning to tear down the current Shoreline Apartments, which run along Niagara and 7th Streets, and replace them with updated housing. Residents say they were assured that the project would come in stages, and that they would be able to transition into the new homes when ready. But now they say Norstar has changed the plan and advised them they must move out this fall to let demolition commence.
On Monday evening, a Norstar representative met with residents inside City Hall to discuss the process, assuring them that the company will help make sure all affected are successfully relocated.
Mayor Byron Brown was asked about the matter on Tuesday.
"Norstar is a good developer but certainly we want to look at issues of people having to leave sooner, as construction takes place at that site," Brown said. "We want to be sure people are able to be relocated to clean, safe affordable housing."
Residents expressed concerns at Monday night's meeting that they may be unable to find a new low-income home in an approximately five-month period, because of limited available options and wait lists at some complexes that are as long as two years.
Brown told WBFO that residents should be able to find a new place to stay.
"New projects are coming online all the time for people of all income levels, low income, moderate income, middle income," he said. "I am confident but, rest assured, we will be reaching out to Norstar. We will be asking what their process is, and we want to make sure that the people that are living in the Shoreline Apartments are protected."
Common Councilmember David Franczyk, who represents the neighborhood, suggested Monday that Shoreline Apartments residents receive priority when the new housing is completed and opened.