Golden fleece: U.S. taxpayer wildly overpaying for home renos in Buffalo, NY

Golden fleece: U.S. taxpayer wildly overpaying for home renos in Buffalo, NY
No, silly, this was BEFORE the $523K reno.(Image: Google Street View)

[Ed. – Seriously. Some local dude says an old home shouldn’t be demolished, because it’s a historical district, and HUD is milked for over $500K to renovate a structure that is then listed for sale — by the city — for less than $140K.  And apparently this happens a lot.  I’m all for historical preservation myself, and in fact have lived in “regentrifying” preservation districts.  It goes much better, with bang for buck optimized, when it’s done with things like low-interest loans and special incentives for owner-occupant renovators.  The dumbest approach is just heaving taxpayer money at it.]

In 2013, Wells Fargo gained possession of the house. The plan was to level the house, but historical preservationists objected.

“The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency, a city hall office, stepped in, working with the Black Rock Riverside Neighborhood Housing Services to see if the house could be saved,” reported The Buffalo News.

“I did not want the four units put back,” Councilman Golombek said.” There would be the parking problems, and the apartments would be too small. I wanted an owner occupant.”

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The house was an old construction filled with lead paint. Environmental regulations made it cost $63,000 just to prepare it for renovations, which quickly added up: $65,000 for siding, $25,000 for a new roof. By the time it was ready, the city had spent $523,600 in HUD funds.

Today, the city has the house listed for sale at $137,750.

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