Faculty addresses concerns for proposed housing

Sarah Minkewicz, News Editor

Construction for a $25 million apartment complex that targets SUNY Buffalo State students has some college officials concerned with the location, student affordability and environmental factors that surround the project.

The Buffalo Planning Board approved of the apartment complex last month, which could consist of 176 apartments and house as many as 592 students.

Buffalo State planning officials said the college was not involved with the proposal or the development and planning for the new project.

“This is not a Buffalo State project and we were not consulted, nor gave any input on any part of this project,” said Sarah Reid, facilities planner at Buffalo State. “We found out about it when it hit the paper the first time.”

The developer for the project is DHD Ventures, a private-company originally based in North Carolina, which proposed to build the new apartment complex that will be located at 100 Forest Ave. Construction for the project will begin in June and the developer hopes it’ll be finished by August 2016.

“The campus does not support or oppose the project,” Vice President for Finance and Management Michael F. LeVine said.

He also added that the developer has not discussed the project with Buffalo State and that the college has several concerns.

LeVine said the distance of the apartment complex to the college campus, which will be about four blocks away, could be a possible issue for college students, as well as some environmental issues with the site that may not make it feasible for student housing.

“These are all things that will need to be addressed by the developer,” LeVine said.

Another possible problem for students would be the monthly costs of living in the apartment.

There isn’t an exact figure amount for what the apartments could cost.

In addition to Buffalo State students, the apartment complex will also be available for non-students to rent.

Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner said she’s not aware of how many students will want to rent apartments in that area, but that if it’s convenient for them, then they should look into it.

“If we have students that want to live there and it fits their needs and is in their budget and price point, then that is a good thing,” Conway-Turner said.

Buffalo State is currently working on its own housing development plans and has a student housing master plan in progress after acknowledging that the campus has a need for student housing.

“The need is for housing for first-year students, not upper-class students,” LeVine said. “Therefore, apartment-style housing like what DHD Ventures is building is not part of our immediate need.”

Instead, the college is exploring the possibility of converting buildings that were built originally as dorms that are now used for administrative use back into student dorms.

“This could meet up to 350 beds of our unmet demand,” LeVine said.

Conway-Turner is also aware of the need for more student housing on campus and is making that one of her main focus points heading into the new semester and academic year.

“We have extra demands for housing and we’re working on a plan on campus that we should be able to put together for next year and moving forth,” Conway-Turner said. “So, we certainly, very much have housing on our minds.”


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