Community Preservation Corp. opens office in Buffalo

The Buffalo News
August 18, 2016
By Jonathan D. Epstein | News Business Reporter

The Community Preservation Corp., a national nonprofit affordable housing and community revitalization finance company, has opened a new Western New York regional office in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood, as it seeks to expand its presence and activity in supporting local housing projects.

The new office at 534 Delaware Avenue will be led by Michael DeWitt, who joined the organization as senior vice president and regional director to lead its efforts in the region by working with local developers, community partners and government agencies to finance multi-family housing projects. DeWitt, a 24-year veteran of commercial real estate finance, previously served as first vice president and relationship manager at First Niagara Financial Group for 10 years, and formerly spent 14 years at HSBC Bank USA as vice president and relationship manager.

“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.”

Founded in 1974, CPC works to transform underserved neighborhoods throughout the state, and has been active in Western New York since the early 1990s. The New York City-based nonprofit has provided $259 million over the past 20 years to finance 151 multifamily housing developments in Western New York, including $167.5 million for 89 developments in Buffalo. Overall, it has leveraged about $9.7 billion in private and public investment to finance 170,660 units of affordable housing.

It opened its first regional office in Buffalo in 1995, but consolidated operations to Syracuse in 2011. It decided to reopen the new site because it recently “has seen the impact of its work grow and take root throughout Western New York,” CPC said in a news release. The organization has been working with the city and local developers to finance the adaptive reuse and redevelopment of historic structures to “bring significant new economic investment and housing renewal opportunity to the downtown area,” CPC said.

Most recently, it provided a $24 million construction loan and a state-insured $18.68 million permanent loan to help finance Savarino Companies’ 500 Seneca project, a mixed-use building with 98 apartments and commercial space.

“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 CPC president and CEO Rafael E. Cestero. “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.”