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Better Buffalo Fund Project Awards Announced

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 14 projects, including five on the East Side, received funding awards totaling $9,130,042 through Round Two of the Better Buffalo Fund. The fund was established to support projects that encourage density and growth along transportation corridors and revitalize neighborhood commercial districts. This second round of funding will help complete the renovation of more than 250 residential units and more than 140,000 square feet of store front and commercial space while leveraging over $131.4 million in private investment.

“The resurgence of Buffalo has become a national model for economic recovery and thanks to this new round of funding, that progress takes another step forward today,”Governor Cuomo said. “The investments being made through the Better Buffalo Fund not only support the revitalization of forgotten neighborhoods, but also ensures that all residents have access to the city’s emerging job centers. This type of holistic approach is what has helped this region rebound and we remain committed to helping it reach even greater heights.”

Announced as part of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, the Better Buffalo Fund aims to create vibrant, mixed-use, high-density neighborhoods, while improving access to the major employment hubs by creating stronger transit and transportation linkages between neighborhoods employment centers, job training and services. Applicants applied for grants and revolving loan funds through the Better Buffalo Fund for one of two initiatives—Transit Oriented Development and Buffalo Main Streets.

In round one of the Better Buffalo Fund, which was announced in April 2015, $11.7 million in incentives was doled out to 21 projects, which is contributing to the renovation of more than 200 residential units and more than 50,000 square feet of store front and commercial space while leveraging $92 million in private investment.

There will be a third round of Better Buffalo Fund funding in 2017 to continue the revitalization of Buffalo’s neighborhoods and main streets. Empire State Development will continue to offer technical assistance to some non-profits that may need assistance in preparation for the next round of Better Buffalo Fund Main Street funding.

Transit-Oriented Development Awarded Projects

Nine Transit-Oriented Development awards were announced totaling $7,769,134.  A grant and revolving loan fund for up to $2 million in gap financing for adaptive reuse or infill capital projects, which promote dense development (housing, employment and retail) within 1/2 mile walking distance of transit stops on Main Street, Niagara Street, Bailey Avenue, Utica Street Grant Street, and Fillmore Avenue corridors; and encourage the use of multi-modal transportation, and stimulate pedestrian activity through retail and neighborhood-oriented businesses and services, quality public spaces and accessible walkways.

Pilgrim Village Redevelopment (Campus Square) – $2,000,000 loan
Applicant: Pilgrim Village Associates III, L.P./NorthEllicott Management Inc.
Project Address: 91 Nora Lane
This project will consist of the rehabilitation of Pilgrim Village Apartments, a privately owned, Section 8 housing development and the new construction of Campus Square, a 152 unit, multi-use, mixed-income, multi-generational, mid-rise residence contained within 350,000 square feet (entry image). The redevelopment of Pilgrim Village and the construction of the new Campus Square complex is one of the most significant new affordable housing developments in the City of Buffalo. The project is projected to result in 115 full-time direct permanent jobs and 550 full-time direct construction jobs (with a significant number of these jobs targeted for minority residents or minority-owned businesses).


School 77 – $1,553,974 loan
Applicant: Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Company, Inc.
Project Address: 429 Plymouth Avenue
Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Company (BNSC) will undertake a substantial rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of a historically significant, three story, 80,605 square foot former Buffalo Public School built in 1927 into a multifamily, mixed-use community hub. The project will create 30 affordable apartments for seniors. The first floor and a half of the building will include a variety of uses, including offices, arts and performance spaces, and a gym. BNSC’s Hiring Hall will also add a strong workforce development component.


Rosanna Elizabeth VPAC Arts Campus – $1,500,000 loan
Applicant: 467 Richmond Avenue LLC
Project Address: 467 Richmond Avenue, Buffalo and 531 West Ferry Street, Buffalo
This mixed-use redevelopment project will transform the former Methodist Church, which has been vacant for 20 years, and warehouse at the Grant Ferry circle into the Rosanna Elizabeth VPAC Arts Campus. The Campus, including 63,500 square feet of historic inventory and and 2,800 square feet of deteriorated residential inventory, will have six apartments, including 2,000 square feet of new space and two commercial spaces that will serve at least five anchor tenants and 60-100 additional users (arts, community organizations) annually.


510 Washington Street – $750,000 loan
Applicant: The Alexandre Apartments, LLC
Project Address: 510 Washington Street
This is a mixed-use redevelopment of 19,530 square feet of vacant, historic inventory into 12 apartments and retail space on the ground floor for a bread bakery.


Main St Louis – $600,000 loan
Applicant: Main St. Louis LP/Legacy
Project Address: 810 Main Street and 9 St. Louis Place
Main St Louis will include the renovation of an existing mixed-use historic building and construction of a new residential building on Main Street in Buffalo. This project will support the on-going commercial and medical development taking place at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, as well as residents looking to live in downtown Buffalo.


The Mattress Factory – $500,000 loan
Applicant: Buffalo Mattress Factory LLC
Project Address: 170 Florida Street
Buffalo Mattress Factory LLC will convert an underutilized 40,000 square feet warehouse building on Buffalo’s East Side into 31 market-rate apartments, class A office space, a 127 seat performing arts theater and commercial storage.


BracoLinwood – $365,160 loan
Applicant: Linwood-Allentown Preservation LLC
Project Address: 922 Main Street (a/k/a 12 Allen Street) and 76 Grant Street, Buffalo
The project involves renovation of approximately 18,977 square feet and 10 storefronts of ground floor commercial space located in two existing mixed-use buildings and ancillary improvements. One building has 36 residential rental units and approximately 11,577 square feet of vacant blighted commercial space. The other building has 26 residential rental units and approximately 7,400 square feet of vacant blighted commercial space.


136 North Pearl – $250,000 loan
Applicant: 136 North Pearl LLC/Heffler Management LLC
Project Address: 136 North Pearl
The renovation of two buildings located at North Pearl Street will result in eight high-end, market-rate apartments and service parking for nine cars. Bike racks and indoor bike storage/maintenance stations will be provided.


Cold Springs on Main – $250,000 loan
Applicant: 1501 Main Group, LLC/Sinatra
Project Address: 1501 Main Street
1501 Main Street will create an open floor plan for the tenants and provide various building upgrades, including electrical, HVAC, windows, structural, flooring, facade with glass and glazing, new blacktop to accommodate parking, new commercial kitchen for the Mid City Bazaar and various interior wall separations as needed for tenants.

Buffalo Main Street Initiative Awarded Projects

A program modeled on the New York State Main Street program, the Buffalo Main Streets Initiative will assist in the revitalization of historic downtowns and mixed-use neighborhood commercial districts. The program considered grant requests from non-profit organizations for building renovations and public space enhancements in discrete, mixed-use target areas, with direct coordination from the local non-profit community based organization/business association. New York State Homes and Community Renewal will be administering these grants.

Better on Bailey Avenue- $300,000 grant
Applicant: University District Community Development Association Inc.
The University District Community Development Association (UDCDA) will use grant funds to work with property owners along Bailey Avenue to renovate and rehabilitate their commercial storefronts. This work will leverage significant public and private investments made along the street and build on the UDCDA’s efforts to reposition Bailey Avenue as a thriving east side commercial corridor and hub of small business activity. This project is seen as one of the key components in stabilizing the Kensington-Bailey neighborhood after decades of disinvestment, depopulation and decline.

Clinton Street Buffalo Main Streets Initiative – $300,000 grant
Applicant: Schiller Park Community Services Inc.
Schiller Park Community Services Inc. will use grant funds to assist renovations of storefronts and commercial buildings along the Baily Avenue to City line. This project is expected to leverage City of Buffalo and private owner funds to continue the Clinton Street commercial district revitalization.

Jefferson Avenue Initiative 1 – $300,000 grant
Applicant: Citizens Alliance Inc.
Citizens Alliance (CA), in collaboration with the Black Chamber of Commerce of Western New York (BCCWNY), will use grant funds to assist in the revitalization of commercial properties along Jefferson Avenue. The requested funds will assist with the costs of building renovations, facade and streetscape improvements, roof replacements, residential renovations, and the administration costs of program implementation.

Revive Allentown – $300,000 grant
Applicant: Allentown Association
The Allentown Association was formed over 60 years ago to protect the Allentown neighborhood and formed the first preservation district in the City of Buffalo. The Association will use this grant funding to assist local building and business owners in the rehabilitation, restoration and site improvement of their properties. The project will leverage private investment from invested owners to continue the Association’s mission to serve, restore and protect the cultural heritage of Allentown.

Black Rock Village – Upper Niagara Street – $160,908 grant
Applicant: BRRAlliance Inc.
The BRRAlliance Inc. will use funds to assist in the renovations of storefronts and apartments on Niagara Street in the Black Rock Village area. The project is expected to leverage local private funds to continue the organization’s main street revitalization efforts.

Written by Buffalo Rising

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