Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced 11 projects, including five on the East Side, received awards totaling $7,780,930 through round three 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 third round of funding will help complete the renovation of 172 residential units and more than 130,795-square-feet of storefront and commercial space, while leveraging over $64.26 million in private investment. The announcement was held at 1285 Niagara Street which benefited from a Better Buffalo Fund award (entry image).
“The Better Buffalo Fund is bringing new life to neighborhoods across the region, while shining light on business and job opportunities for residents,” Governor Cuomo said.
A key initiative of Governor Cuomo’s revitalization efforts in Western New York, 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.
The Governor has committed $40 million to the Better Buffalo Fund, via $30 million in Buffalo Billion I and $10 million in Buffalo Billion II. Through three rounds of the program, the Better Buffalo Fund has awarded more than $28 million to 46 projects. These projects are renovating more than 622 residential units and more than 320,000 square-feet of store front and commercial space, while also leveraging over $287.7 million in private investment in the City of Buffalo.
Better Buffalo Fund awarded projects included below:
Transit-Oriented Development Awarded Projects. Six Transit-Oriented Development awards totaling $6,130,930 in grants and loans. This program is 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.
950 Broadway – $2,000,000 loan
Applicant: Cedarland Development Group
The $5.79 million project, at 950 Broadway Street, involves rehabilitation and conversion of a commercial building that is currently vacant and underutilized into a mixed-use, multifamily workforce housing project, including first floor commercial space and approximately 26 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. It builds on the momentum of nearby investments, such as the city’s installation of bike paths, stabilization/rehab of local properties by Broadway-Fillmore NHS and the Albright-Knox’s investment in a mural (Welcome Wall) directly across the street.
Jefferson Avenue Apartments – $1,902,094 loan
Applicant: People Inc.
This $31 million mixed-use project includes the construction of two new three-story buildings totaling 89-units of affordable and middle-income rental housing located at 1140 Jefferson Avenue. 16 apartments will be set aside for people with developmental disabilities, and include support services to enable those people to live independently. People Inc., the developer and an experienced human service provider, will provide supportive services to residents of these units. Additionally, a portion of the commercial space will be leased out, in order to provide human services to the community at large. The balance of the commercial space is expected to be occupied by commercial/retail tenants as well as not for profits.
TOD at 65 Northland – $170,156 grant
Applicant: ArchType LLC
The new four-unit apartment building at 65 Northland Avenue will be a modern, sustainable, and financially feasible home. The current site is a vacant lot, that sits in the center of several bus routes and adjacent to the subway on Buffalo’s East side. The $850,000 project will utilize sustainable geothermal heating and cooling significantly reducing the cost and reliance on fossil fuels.
Blackrock Freight House – $750,000 loan
Applicant: Common Bond Real Estate
This $9.98 million mixed-use redevelopment project located at 68 Tonawanda Street, will transform over 37,000-square-feet of mostly vacant industrial space into 37 two-bedroom apartments and roughly 3,000-square-feet of commercial space for which tenants are currently being identified.
72 Sycamore Street – $359,000 grant
Applicant: Preservation Buffalo Niagara in partnership with Signature Development LLC
Signature Development LLC has acquired one of the oldest buildings in downtown Buffalo, 72 Sycamore Street f/b/o Preservation Buffalo Niagara with the intent to redevelop it as an arts hub destination within the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. The $1.75 million project will redevelop the building into an arts hub destination with four live/work artist space and 3,000 square feet of office space that is programmatically tied in with the important heritage area on Michigan Street.
The Kyndall Building- $949,680 loan
Applicant: R Kyndall Development Group, LLC
This $5.9 million project will develop vacant lots located at 647, 649 and 651 East Delavan into a new 13,000 square foot, three- story mixed use building. The building will include 12 mixed-income apartments with on-site parking and ground level commercial or retail space.
Buffalo Main Street Initiative Awarded Projects. Five Main Streets awards totaling $1,650,000 in grants. 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.
North Buffalo Infill – $500,000 grant
Applicant: The North Buffalo Organization
The North Buffalo Organization will use grant funds to assist in the $7 million development of the 1585 Hertel mixed-use development. The project is expected to leverage local private funds and will continue the revitalization of the Hertel Avenue Business District in North Buffalo. The proposed project site is located at 1585 Hertel Avenue on the southeast corner of Hertel Avenue and Parkside Avenue.
Vibrant Seneca Street – $300,000 grant
Applicant: Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo
The Wellness Institute will use grant funds to assist in the renovation of storefronts and apartments. This $300,000 project will leverage streetscape funds from the City of Buffalo, as well as private funding to continue the revitalization of Seneca Street and the surrounding neighborhood. The target area is within the Seneca Street commercial corridor between Cazenovia and Epson street. This area begins with the historic Shea’s Seneca Theater and finishes off at the highly acclaimed Cazenovia Park.
Grant Street Buffalo Main Streets Initiative – $300,000 grant
Applicant: Heart of the City Neighborhoods Inc.
Heart of the City Neighborhoods, Inc. will use grant funds to assist with the $384,000 renovation of storefronts and attached residential units, as well as providing streetscape enhancements on Grant Street in Buffalo between West Ferry and Potomac Avenue. The proposed project will leverage private funds to continue the revitalization of this mixed-use corridor in the heart of Buffalo’s West Side.
Black Rock Revival – $300,000 grant
Applicant: West Side Black Rock Neighborhood Housing Services
West Side Black Rock Neighborhood Housing Services and the Grant Amherst Business Association will use grant funds to assist in the $570,000 renovation of properties in a target area between Grant and Bridgeman Renovation work will include facade restorations, including historic elements, masonry restorations, new windows, signs, awnings and lighting. These projects expect to leverage local and private owner funds to continue the GABA/WSNHS commercial district revitalization efforts.
1235 Hertel Avenue – $250,000 grant
Applicant: Forever Elmwood Corporation
The Elmwood Village Association will use grant funds to assist with the planned $2.5 million adaptive reuse of 1235 Hertel Avenue. The reuse is expected to leverage upwards of $2.5 million in private funds to extend the renaissance of a walkable Hertel Avenue business district westward. The reuse will result in 1235 Hertel Avenue being returned to both city and county tax rolls.