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State Funding Sought for Rehab and Demo Projects

The City of Buffalo is applying for $20 million in Restore New York funds.  Funding would assist with the demolition of 650 vacant properties.  The Restore New York’s Communities Initiative aids in the demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation and/or reconstruction of vacant, abandoned, condemned and surplus properties.  Restore New York places a strong emphasis on projects in economically distressed communities.  Funding for the third and final round of the program is $150 million, bringing the total amount of funding to $300 million.

Proposed demolitions are concentrated on the East Side:

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City officials have come under criticism for not being more creative in previous Restore New York applications that have been heavy on demolitions and not a strategic effort to rehab and restore problematic properties in targeted neighborhoods.  This year, the City is partnering with People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo to rehabilitate seven houses on the West Side.  Homes on Chenango, Massachusetts, West Utica and Winter Street are eyed for restoration. 

Funding to assist in the redevelopment of vacant buildings is also on the City’s aggressive wish list:

Avant – 200 Delaware Avenue
Uniland Development has been working to convert the former Thaddeus J. Dulski Federal Building into a state-of-the-art Mixed-Use facility. The Avant Building is in need of gap financing to complete the project.

Curtiss Building – 204-216 Franklin Street
Mark Croce proposes to rehabilitate and redevelop the historic landmark property known as the Curtiss Building into a fifty-seven (57) room high-end boutique hotel. 

North Park Library – 2351 Delaware Avenue
The Buffalo and Erie Public Libraries was forced close the North Park Library in late-2008 due to structural problems. Funding is needed to address safety issues and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that this library can be re-opened to service library patrons in North Buffalo.

Former Fairfield Library – 1659 Amherst Street
Rehabilitation of the former Fairfield Library is proposed by the City of Buffalo for the purpose of saving this historic structure for future re-use. Potential developers have previously expressed interest in the building. The City of Buffalo must repair the foundation and structural damage and abate mold, asbestos and lead hazards to properly market the property for an adaptive reuse.

White Bros. Livery – Corner of Jersey and Richmond Street
Savarino Construction proposes to develop 12 apartments at the White’s Livery site.  The $3.4 million project is a historic rehabilitation of the 1889 structure that partially collapsed last year.

Darwin D. Martin House Restoration – 125 Jewett Parkway
Funding is requested to complete Phase V of the Martin House restoration which includes upgrading all mechanical, electrical and plumbing as well as interior plaster, detailed paint and extensive wood millwork. 

Former KFC Site– 448 Elmwood Avenue
Demolition of former restaurant at Bryant and Elmwood to prepare for the construction of a three-story, mixed-use retail and residential building.

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The Jeremiah Partnership, a collaboration of seven faith-based organizations committed to community development on the East Side, is proposing the following:

• 437 Broadway – Pentecostal Temple proposes to renovate the three-story building at the corner of Spring Street (photo above).

• 656 Genesee Street – Greater Refuge Temple proposes to renovate the two-story building (photo below).

• 921 East Delavan – Mt. Olive Baptist Church proposes to renovate 921 East Delavan located at the corner of Cambridge Street.

• 998 Broadway – True Bethel Baptist Church, proposes to rehabilitate/renovate the former K-Mart store at 998 Broadway for church offices, classrooms, a banquet hall and 2000-seat performing arts facility.

• 1373-1381 Main (aka 7 East Utica) – Bethesda Community Development Corporation proposes to rehabilitate the property at the southeast corner of Main Street and East Utica Street for use as a small business incubator and retail site.

• 1461 Main Street – Bethel Community Development Corporation proposes to renovate and house an Early Head Start program and additional Head Start classrooms.

With stiff competition, the City is likely to only get a fraction of requested funding.

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Written by David Steele

David Steele

Architect ( a real one, not just the armchair type), author of "Buffalo, Architecture in the American Forgotten Land" ( www.blurb.com ), lover of great spaces, hater of sprawl and waste,
advocate for a better way of doing things.

View All Articles by David Steele
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