It was September 25, 2014 when UB announced that they would not buy McCarley Gardens. Residents thought they were safe. But of course the housing development sandwiched between the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and Downtown was, and is not, safe from developers. Real estate investment boss Nick Sinatra proposed a renovation of $35 million and the city planning board approved the site plan on February 27, 2017.
The plan was listed by McCarley’s address, 818 Michigan Avenue, and not as McCarley Gardens, making it harder to identify in public notices and also from the City website. Public notices are sent to property owners within 400 feet of the proposed work. Renters do not receive notice. Public notices are in the Buffalo News, but how many low to moderate income individuals subscribe to the Buffalo News?
A notice of Sinatra’s plan would have gone to the Oak- Michigan Housing Development Corporation, an agency of St. John Baptist Church. Did McCarley residents know of the plans coming their way? Was an effort made to give them fair notice?
Since 2017 through 2018, many McCarley residents say they don’t have a full understanding of what is happening; there is concern that no date is given, there is concern about having to move temporarily rather than having renovations take place while in residence. It feels as if trickery is in the air, with half truths and flat out lies serving as information. What is going on at McCarley Gardens? Will the mission of McCarley Gardens continue as the safe housing development created for low income families to raise their children and build a community?
What does Sinatra Development know about Rev. Burnie Mc- Carley, Rev. Bennett Smith, architect Wallace V. Moll and all the good people who worked without greed in their hearts to build McCarley?
Will McCarley look like Pilgrim Village, where the $200 million Campus Square project is in dispute and some of the residents have been ripped from their community and the homes they knew?
Wake up people and start asking questions of your elected officials. Question the pronouncements of Buffalo Resurgence folks. You do not have to accept as gospel what the developer class says. And we have to share information without fear of reprisals. Please, what is going on at McCarley Gardens?
-The Community Watchdog