By: Thomas J. Prohaska | News Niagara Bureau | Story Created: 08/07/2012 12:09 AMLOCKPORT – The first four tenants have moved into the $8 million Lockport Canal Homes project, and the developers said Monday that they expect no difficulty filling the remaining 26 units.
“We build quality housing, a lot better than the old neighborhood,” Justin Rudgick, regional development manager for Housing Visions, said after the Syracuse-based not-for-profit received approval from the city Planning Board for the final home in its complex.
The two-unit home at 155 Genesee St. will be a replica of the 19th century brick home now standing at that address. Housing Visions had hoped to preserve it, but it discovered that the interior brick was too badly deteriorated to be saved.
Rudgick said the state Historic Preservation Office has approved the change in plans, but its written approval has yet to be issued.
Housing Visions purchased most of the property on Genesee Street between Pine and Locust streets, a neighborhood of large, once-grand Victorian homes that had devolved into a crime-ridden stretch of blighted drug dens in buildings subdivided into multiple dwellings.
The homes were either demolished or rehabilitated, and Housing Visions put into place a strict set of screening guidelines for prospective tenants that it has used in other upstate cities.
It also is erecting a community center on Locust Street. Construction should be complete on the entire block by December or January, said Diana Trajcevski, development project manager.
Rudgick said the tenants Housing Visions seeks “are currently in substandard housing. We build them housing in improved conditions with a better quality of life than they can currently afford.”