Evergreen Lofts

Organization Name: SWBR

Project Location: 392 Genesee Street, Buffalo, NY

Project Goals:
Evergreen Lofts offers affordable housing opportunities for people who meet income eligibility requirements or are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless. The residences provide a safe option for people who may have faced housing discrimination elsewhere. Larger walk-in closets are in units for those previously homeless individuals who are used to never being too far away from all of their possessions. Units are fully furnished with everything from couches to bath towels and silverware so that tenants are able to immediately settle into their home. To assist with job searching and resume building, there is a computer lab and job skills counseling. Also included are laundry rooms, a community room where tenants can mingle with their neighbors or hold a birthday party, and casual sitting spaces throughout the building. All 56 units are filled, making it a 100% occupancy rate in the first three months. Over 160 applications have been received and there is currently a waiting list.

Project Description:
Evergreen Lofts is an adaptive reuse project that converted a former manufacturing building into 56 apartments. The design preserves much of the original structure, including exposed wood beams, brick walls and main stairwell. Windows were replaced and structural repairs to exterior masonry were performed. Interior rehabilitation included new mechanical and electrical systems and minor structural repairs to the timber frame. Energy-conserving heating and cooling equipment, appliances, and light fixtures, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, green label certified floor coverings, and daylight sensors on exterior lighting were added. A new lobby, community room, main entrance with signage, exterior canopies and private courtyard complete the aesthetic. The building offers housing to people who are in danger of or are experiencing homelessness. The residences provide an option for people who may face discrimination elsewhere, including the chronically ill and the LGBTQ community.

Community Impact:
This apartment building benefits the neighborhood by converting an empty, abandoned space—which devalued the surrounding properties, and created opportunities for crime and violence—into a safe, well-maintained place for new neighbors to live. Residents are also provided with access to Evergreen Health’s network of supportive services, including medical, mental health and transportation. Evergreen is not interested in neighborhood gentrification or driving rent costs up in a way that would negatively impact the people who have built their lives in Pratt-Willert; Evergreen is committed to maintaining affordable rent rates, and being a present and respectful landlord.

Organization Description:
SWBR is a multidisciplinary, award-winning design firm headquartered in Rochester, New York. As a highly respected national firm consistently providing leadership, expertise, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking the firm specializes in sustainability, education, housing and workplace design. With offices in Rochester and Syracuse SWBR aims to positively impact lives through meaningful design.

    The stair tower and canopy add contemporary charm

    Lobby includes a display of artifacts

    Rough masonry and old steel doors were maintained

    Apartments are modern, open living spaces

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