Community Preservation Corporation Opens Office at 534 Delaware Avenue

Buffalo Rising
August 16, 2016

Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) has opened an office in Buffalo. CPC is in the business of financing multi-family housing projects in underserved and growing communities. The new office, combined with the CPC’s objective, further positions a number of urban neighborhoods in the sightlines of the revitalization finance company.

Since its inception, CPC has allotted $167.5 million in funding for 89 developments in Buffalo alone ($259 million in WNY). The corporation’s new Buffalo office is located at 534 Delaware Avenue in Allentown. In tandem with the opening, CPC has brought onboard Michael DeWitt as Senior Vice President and Regional Director. DeWitt will work with local developers and the City of Buffalo to continue to strengthen the community by providing the necessary funds to build impactful residential projects.

“CPC has spent decades working with our partners to help solve the housing and community development challenges in Buffalo and throughout Western New York. Returning to Buffalo allows us to continue to strengthen our connection to the communities, borrowers, and other local stakeholders who share our mission and vision,” said Rafael E. Cestero, President and CEO, The Community Preservation Corporation. “Mike DeWitt has years of real estate and mortgage lending experience in Western New York, and we’re excited that he’s joining the CPC team. Most importantly, Mike has built a reputation as relationship builder and problem solver who understands the unique needs of the communities and customers that we strive to serve.”

CPC first opened a regional office in 1995. Since that time, the nonprofit affordable housing and community revitalization finance company has been focusing on the revitalization of struggling yet promising Buffalo neighborhoods. In 2011 established its WNY operations in Syracuse. Now, with a burgeoning Buffalo economy, the decision was made to dedicate an official office and a dedicated controller to Buffalo.

DeWitt is a practiced hand when it comes this world of financing. His resume reads:

  • 24 years of experience in commercial real estate mortgage lending and deep ties to Buffalo and Western New York
  • Previously served as First Vice President and Relationship Manager at First Niagara Bank, N.A., where he was responsible for the growth and management of for-profit and nonprofit commercial real estate customers in Western New York for the last 10 years
  • Prior to First Niagara, DeWitt was Vice President and Relationship Manager at HSBC Bank USA where he worked for more than 14 years
  • At HSBC, DeWitt also managed a portfolio of commercial real estate customers across Upstate New York

“CPC is a leader in affordable housing finance and has been a consistent presence in communities throughout Western New York for years,” said Mike DeWitt. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to bring my experience to a company that defines its success by their commitment to their customers and the positive impact their investments bring to neighborhoods.”

As of late, CPC has been directing much of its financial resources towards adaptive reuse and redevelopment of historic structures, including 500 Seneca Street. This was done via a $24 million construction loan and a SONYMA-insured $18.68 million permanent loan through the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

“Our 500 Seneca project was an historic structure that had been abandoned for many years and faced several significant challenges. We saw an opportunity to transform the building and the neighborhood by restoring it as a vibrant, mixed-use development,” said Samuel J. Savarino, President and CEO of Savarino Companies. “While other lenders offered us polite declinations, the Community Preservation Corp. saw the community benefit of our project and they worked with us to provide construction and permanent financing for what is a complicated transaction. 500 Seneca now serves as the anchor to a revived and restored historic district. Over 700 people now live and work in what was an empty, derelict and contaminated building – providing quality housing and jobs where they are needed.”

“The decision by CPC to further expand its presence in upstate New York by opening an office in Buffalo is reflective of its broad vision to ensure that its needed resources are easily accessible to the growing economy in and around Buffalo,” said Steven J. Weiss, Partner at Cannon Heyman and Weiss, LLP. “CPC’s history of work in the region has been good for many, and has helped to shine a spotlight on parts of the community still struggling and where its products and services are often needed the most. We are thrilled for CPC and for our clients who borrow from CPC and wish them all much success.”

“Our relationship with Mike DeWitt goes back at least 17 years, and it’s one we’re looking forward to continuing as he takes on his new role at CPC,” said James Gottstine, COO at Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. “Mike brings a sense of humanity to the process of putting a deal together. He understands the significance of each project and impact it can have, and that’s important to us. When you work with Mike you know he’s not just crunching the numbers, he’s a partner in helping to make your plan and vision a reality.”