Question

29 May

If there’s a market in downtown Buffalo for $400,000 – $700,000 condominiums (some with ginormous tax abatements), and there’s a market downtown for $600$1200 rental loft units, wouldn’t it follow that there’s a huge, untapped market for condominium units that cost between $70 – 190k?

6 Responses to “Question”

  1. thesportsroadtrip May 29, 2007 at 7:28 am #

    That’s an issue that I have been banging on for years and I’m not sure I have the answers. Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that any residential development downtown has to have an elaborate parking component, and that adds significantly to the underlying cost of a unit.

    Think about it for a minute… anyone living in Elk Terminal has to hop in a car and drive 2-3 miles to buy a quart of milk (That corner deli on Perry and Louisiana? Umm… don’t think so).

    We don’t have a downtown that contains basic neighborhood services type retail components, and nobody in their right mind would sink that kind of capital into that sort of business down there given the current numbers. It’s the classic chicken and egg situation.

    Mark my words – go to this year’s BOHW housing tour and you will see the same thing as last year – young couples and professionals and empty nesters walking around with bewildered looks and checks in hand looking for that ideal starter condo. If you have section 8 accreditation or a seven figure portfolio, you are golden… otherwise, hey come out here to Cheektowaga have we got a deal for you!

  2. Lisa May 29, 2007 at 8:23 am #

    I believe the idea is to start with the high end units first, get more people living downtown, then go to the type of housing that many more of us can afford.

  3. STEEL May 29, 2007 at 9:48 am #

    It is very difficult to produce product in that price range. $70K would be pretty much impossible. $190K would be doable but finishes would be low level and space much smaller than WNY’s are probably willing to accept. The reality today is that $200,000 does not buy much. WNY’s live in an alternate universe of cheap real estate. This alternate universe does not really exist

  4. KDZ May 29, 2007 at 10:56 am #

    The condo conversion at 849 Delaware will definitely fill a void in the market. http://www.849delaware.com.

    I’ll be interested to see how they sell.

  5. hank kaczmarek May 29, 2007 at 12:46 pm #

    Alan, I know you know NYC pretty well.
    Now perhaps others may understand why there are people living in Manhattan and Brooklyn who have to go back 3 generations to find someone with a Driver’s License.

    All Buffalo needs is a better system of transit. If that means changing some bus routes.

    mid-range starter condos and taking some existing buildings co-op sounds like a hell of an opportunity in Downtown.

    Sure looks like an opening for the “bodega” culture and daily shopping to open up as well.

  6. Denizen May 29, 2007 at 11:00 pm #

    thesportsroadtrip nailed it on the head….downtown residential conversions require expensive parking solutions. No one in their right mind paying big bucks for a spiffy new downtown unit will content with having to park their car any a few blocks away. The lack of walkable amenities (expected in a properly functioning urban environment) makes it totally not worth giving up convenient parking.

    Hank has a great point too, If Buffalo had a great regional rapid transit system, living without a car in the city core would be much more feasible. Tweaking bus routes would be a great start (while waiting for that sea change in federal transportation spending habits to favor mass transit so we can expand metro rail some day) in the interim. The region needs user-friendly express bus routes that provide fast, convenient connection between the suburbs and the downtown core.

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