$9 million of New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) has been announced for the Northland Central project. Building America, a wholly-owned affiliate of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) made the announcement yesterday at a press conference, with representatives present from project sponsor Buffalo Urban Development Corporation. Also in attendance was Western NY AFL-CIO President Richard Lipsitz, Jr., Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, Rep. Brian Higgins (NY-26), HIT Vice Chairman Jack Quinn, and other financing partners. Another $5 million from the National Trust Community Investment Corporation was also announced, bringing the total amount up to $14 million.
Once built, Northland Central will be a cutting-edge facility, located in the heart of the East Side, where 300 workers will be trained annually for jobs in the modernized manufacturing sector.
“The Northland Center symbolizes Governor Cuomo’s historic investment in the economic rebirth that has brought jobs, opportunity, and optimism back to Buffalo. The investment in workforce development in Buffalo’s East Side will ensure equal opportunity for all residents,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “It also affirms our commitment to building a world-class workforce, ready for the jobs we are creating today and in the future, and we are grateful to Building America for sharing our vision.”
There is no question that this project is a big deal for the East Side. Officials are praising the project as a catalyst for the neighborhood, as well as a real opportunity for local residents to acquire the skills that they need to enter into the manufacturing workforce. Now, with these New Markets Tax Credits, the project is steamrolling ahead.
“Recently at risk of complete elimination, federal New Markets Tax Credits will help make the Northland Central project possible and give Buffalo the tools to do what it does best – reimagine our future by building on our unique strengths and history,” said Congressman Higgins. “Ours is a community that wears proudly a strong work ethic and Northland Central will provide residents the skills and training necessary to fill the high-demand jobs of today and tomorrow. This commitment by Building America and its funders through the federal New Markets Tax Credit program represents an investment in our neighborhoods, investment in our people, and investment in our future.”
Other forces at work behind the project include financial support from the New York Power Authority, Citi Community Capital and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion program. “Citi is thrilled to be part of this transformative public-private partnership that utilizes state and local resources, federal programs including New Markets Tax Credits and Historic Tax Credits, and private capital to reinvigorate this community,” said Jacob Zlotoff, Director, Citi Community Capital. “The jobs that it will create and sustain, and the opportunities they provide, will benefit not only those who participate directly, but the entire city as well.”
The Northland Workforce Training Center, located at 683 Northland Avenue in Buffalo, will:
- Reuse part of a historic vacant industrial complex and serve as an anchor for the broader Northland Central project.
- Approximately 93,000 square feet of the 240,000-square-foot building will be used for the training center.
- The center is expected to create an estimated 329 union construction jobs, as well as another 69 new positions, while retaining 124 permanent jobs in management, counseling, administration, faculty, building operations, maintenance and security.
- There is a 30 percent local hiring requirement and up to 20 low-income residents will be accepted into the Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program.
“We are investing in the future of America, and that future begins here in Buffalo. The first solar roof tile manufacturing started here just last month, and Northland Central is the key to a skilled and trained workforce for cutting-edge efforts like that,” said Ted Chandler, HIT’s Chief Operating Officer, who noted that in 2013 Building America committed over $9.2 million in NMTCs toward Roswell Parks’ Clinical Sciences Center.
“We are proud to help make the Northland Central project a reality,” said Buford Sears, KeyBank’s WNY Market President. “KeyBank believes in this project, Buffalo’s workforce, and Buffalo’s future. This investment will help Buffalo thrive for generations to come.’’
Once operational the Northland Central Redevelopment project will help workers to attain entry-level operator jobs in fields that require knowhow in machinery, welding, transformers, etc.
“It is estimated that 300 low-income persons annually will be positively impacted by the programs offered at the Northland Workforce Training Center,” says Phillips. “Of the anticipated construction jobs, 30% will be dedicated to local residents, 25% to minorities and 5% specifically to women. We are honored to be a part of this impactful project.”