Count Buffalo Mayor Brown as impressed with the work Mark Croce has completed thus far at the Statler. So much so, the Mayor is recommending the use of State funding to assist with the building's exterior repairs. The $5.3 million would be taken from a $15 million discretionary allocation given to the City several years ago that was earmarked for economic development projects. Mayor Brown announced his support after a building tour this afternoon.
Croce says he has put $1.5 million of his own money into the Niagara Square landmark over the past few months. By year's end he expects his investment will approach $3 million as workers continue to refurbish and equip the first three levels of the building for banquet, restaurant and retail space.
The State money will be used for exterior repairs and restoration. It is an endorsement of the building's future and Mark Croce's vision. It is also a wise investment. The $5.3 million is about half the cost the City might have had to spend on demolition if the building was abandoned. Croce estimates that 200 people will be working in the Statler when the first phase of the project is complete and more as additional portions of the building get reused.
"We're one step closer," says Croce. "This is real and happening. We're creating jobs and bringing this icon back to productive use. The Mayor has confidence in our plan."
Croce says the schedule for redeveloping the building's upper floors will be market-driven and could be a combination of hotel, residential and office space. He says a number of parties are interested in space in the building.
Says Croce, "This money will help leverage future investment."
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