When it comes to commercial districts – the way that they look and feel – all of the businesses must work together to ensure that their blocks are as best as they can be. Unfortunately, even if a commercial district appears to be strong and healthy, it can take only a couple of businesses to lower the bar for everyone. No matter if it’s Elmwood, Hertel, or Grant Street, a storefront with graffiti, or a ripped awning, or a sidewalk littered with trash, makes the entire street look bad. Sometimes these are easy fixes that can be addressed immediately, with little expense. Other times, the fixes are a heavier lift. But there’s no reason to let entropy do its thing, when there are always solutions at hand to help spruce up a business.
In Allentown, six property and business owners are benefitted from a $300K Buffalo Main Streets Initiative grant thanks to New York State Homes and Community Renewal and the Allentown Association. The improvements at hand are allowing the businesses to conduct a number of different façade and commercial renovation projects.
“As part of our Buffalo Main Streets Initiative, we’re investing in projects that will continue to help revitalize Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “We’re providing support to restore buildings and make streetscape improvements to enhance quality of life and boost the local economy. Our investments as part of the Better Buffalo Fund are helping to transform the city and the entire Western New York region, creating a more advanced and sustainable future.
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Beautiful main streets are the foundation of a vibrant and economically successful city. With the Buffalo Main Streets Initiative, we are investing in local businesses and improving streetscapes to make downtown Buffalo an exciting place to live, work and play. Thanks to the State’s historic commitment to revitalizing Buffalo, we are witnessing the continued renaissance of the city and the Western New York region.”
The $300,000 award leveraged private investment for six building and business owners at:
- 166 Allen (Brad Wales Architecture & Pilates Loft)
- 203 Allen Street (Theatre of Youth)
- 256 Allen Street (Exchange On Allen)
- 257 Allen Street (previously Spirits of Allentown)
- 561 Delaware (Colter Bay)
- 567 Delaware (Clover Management)
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Each new Better Buffalo Fund project adds to the momentum and transformation Buffalo has been experiencing, including recent renovations that further revitalize Allentown and attract new residents who want to live, work and play in this hip, historic and walkable neighborhood.”
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “Allentown is a great example of the type of neighborhood that cities everywhere would like to replicate but Buffalo is blessed with. It is dynamic, diverse, and walkable and these improvements are bringing new energy to this historic community.”
Since Allentown is on the local, state, and National registries for historic places, it’s imperative that these buildings/facades are kept intact. The funding from New York State Homes and Community Renewal will help a number of building and business owners to showcase their facades in a historically accurate way.
Senator Tim Kennedy said, “The Better Buffalo Fund continues to fuel extraordinary projects like this one, which will help give our historic Allentown and its business owners a well-deserved boost. New York State remains committed to revitalizing Buffalo, as well as preserving the city’s rich history and charm, and I look forward to seeing the results of these renovations.”
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “Congratulations to the Allentown Association on being awarded $300,000. Making improvements to the identified properties will enhance the character of this historic community and the commercial corridor’s vitality. This will help ensure that Allentown continues to be a destination and hub of entertainment and activity.”
Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, “The Better Buffalo Fund has been investing in Buffalo’s future by providing funding for initiatives geared towards supporting and enhancing projects that help us develop vibrant mixed used neighborhoods. Projects like these not only improve our neighborhoods, but also embrace the historic architecture that makes the Allentown community so special. The Better Buffalo Fund has helped neighborhoods all over Buffalo embrace their historic past, while encouraging density and growth. This funding has been a vital part of the resurgence we’ve seen in Buffalo, and I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and investment in Western New York.”
In addition to the facade improvements, the funding will also:
- See the installation of an iconic Allentown ‘A’ way-finding sign to be located at the corner of Allen Street and Delaware Ave in coordination with the Allen Street Reconstruction Project
- Secure 20 new concrete planters that will be located at every intersection along Allen Street
Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “My thanks to Governor Cuomo and New York State Homes and Community Renewal for continuing this beneficial program that stabilizes and enhances neighborhoods, by providing vital gap financing to make projects possible. I congratulate the Allentown Association, and all the businesses which benefited from this grant to restore facades and enhance streetscapes in the iconic Allentown neighborhood. My administration, through our Office of Strategic Planning, has worked with the state to make Buffalo Main Street Initiative grants available and accessible to non-profit organizations, across the City of Buffalo.”
Seth Amman, Board Member, Allentown Association said, “This project is as much about the future as it is about the past. Allentown’s architecture is renowned due to the continued stewardship of the Allentown Association and dedicated building and business owners who bring Allentown to life. We are grateful to be supported by the Buffalo Main Street Initiative to improve the historic character we love while also improving energy efficiency that will impact Allentown for generations to come. No place will stay good by accident, change will happen, whether planned or unplanned. We are planning for the future of Allentown.”
The Buffalo Main Streets Initiative is one of two initiatives developed as part of the Buffalo Billion’s Better Buffalo Fund. The Better Buffalo Fund dedicated $40 million to support projects that enhance the development of vibrant, mixed-use, neighborhoods and “Main Streets” in the City of Buffalo. The Better Buffalo Fund encourages density and growth along transportation corridors to revitalize neighborhood commercial corridors. The Buffalo Main Streets Initiative was modeled on Homes and Community Renewal’s New York Main Street program.