Owners respond to concerns about future of HUD-subsidized fruit belt building


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – With changes on the horizon, residents of a low-income housing facility in Buffalo’s medical corridor gave the building’s owners an earful at an information meeting Monday afternoon.

A new management group, Capital Realty, is taking control of the St. John Tower on Michigan Avenue. In addition, the owner is leasing the building to a newly formed group. The combination of factors is stoking fear from residents that rents may be on the rise, and HUD subsidies for the building will stop.

The building is owned by the Virginia-Michigan Housing Fund Development Corporation, which is an arm of St. John Baptist Church. That group is now leasing the building to St. John Tower LCC. Documents suggest the church only has 10 percent control of that organization.

“Under HUD regulations, the percentages of ownership are dictated by HUD,” said William Covington, who sits on the Virginia-Michigan Housing Fund Development Corporation’s board. “What we have with this entity Capital Realty are a series of sub-agreements that collectively assure that the tower remains under the control of the church through the Virginia-Michigan Housing Fund Development Corporation.”

HUD subsidies for residents in the building are scheduled to expire in 2022. However an official with HUD tells News 4 that the owners have informed them they intend to renew those subsidies for another 20 years.

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