Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that a Purchase Agreement has been reached between New York State and the City of Buffalo for the purchase of the remaining developable 96 acres of City-owned property at the RiverBend site in South Buffalo. The property is in addition to the 88 acres that the State had purchased from the City at the site in May and where infrastructure work is now underway.
“RiverBend is at the forefront of a development boom that has literally transformed Buffalo, and tech companies from across the country and around the world have taken notice,” Governor Cuomo said. “Finalizing this Purchase Agreement will ensure that RiverBend is prepared to capitalize on this interest and add to the high tech movement that is taking hold in Western New York. Today, Buffalo truly is on the move.”
The Purchase Agreement was made from the City of Buffalo via the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation to the Fort Schuyler Management Corporation, a not-for-profit entity created by SUNY to manage property transactions on behalf of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
The Purchase Agreement formalizes:
• An agreed upon sale price of $2.8 million;
• An agreement to comply with applicable New York State requirements regarding minority workforce, woman workforce, and minority business enterprise and women business enterprise utilization goals in connection with the project. Those requirements include an overall goal of 20 percent participation for MWBEs, a minority workforce goal of 25 percent and a woman workforce goal of five percent for all construction personnel working on the project;
• A commitment to work with appropriate local education organizations in Buffalo to establish local workforce and training programs to increase opportunities for City of Buffalo residents, especially women and minorities; and
• An agreement to implement a payments-in-lieu-of taxes (PILOT) for future development on the 96-acre parcel if future developments are not subject to property taxes.
Howard Zemsky, Co-Chair of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, said, “We’re really hitting our stride in Buffalo and Western New York thanks to Governor Cuomo’s continued focus on attracting the right mix of investment and job creation from private companies who see the benefit of doing business here. Acquiring this additional acreage at RiverBend will further strengthen our ability to maintain the momentum that Governor Cuomo’s policies have created.”
This is Phase II of development. Under the initial plan for the First Phase development of RiverBend, New York State will invest $225 million in Empire State Development (ESD) capital to establish infrastructure at the site including water, sewer, utility and roads; construct a state-owned 275,000 square foot facility that will house Soraa and Silevo as the first two tenants; and purchase and own equipment.
SolarCity, America’s largest solar power provider, has agreed to purchase Silevo but is looking to significantly expand the facility Silevo was planning and create 1,000 or more jobs.
Additional facilities will be built over time to accommodate new manufacturing companies operating in the fields of biotech, high tech and green energy. The facilities and equipment will be owned by the SUNY Research Foundation.
The purchase of the RiverBend property puts a significant dent in the inventory of City-owned, shovel-ready industrial properties. A few large parcels remain in the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park surrounding the Union Ship Canal. Longer term, the City has been eyeing cleanup and redevelopment of sites along the Elk Street corridor.