BUFFALO, N.Y. (Buffalo Rising) | Just yesterday, numerous parties with interests in the Forge on Broadway project, came together to break ground on what is being considered the largest industrial brownfield conversion to residential use in NY State. The 11 acre site has sat vacant for the last 30 years.
Back in September, Stuart Alexander and Associates, SCG Development, and Dr. Rhonda Ricks (R+A+R Development) purchased 7.98 acres of the Buffalo Forge site to construct a mixed use project (learn more). Now remediated, the site will eventually feature 159 units of residential units, with 85 percent of those being affordable. There will also be 15 percent workforce housing, along with commercial and retail space.
Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “This $50.7 million project will bring more affordable housing and daily activity to this neighborhood, create new jobs as new retail and commercial spaces open up, and continue my commitment to revitalizing Buffalo’s East Side. I thank the development team of Stuart Alexander and Associates, SCG Development and Dr. Rhonda A. Ricks of R+A+R Development for undertaking what will be a transformational project that complements my comprehensive approach to economic inclusion on the East Side of Buffalo.”
Apartments, for-sale townhouses, and commercial space are planned for the Forge on Broadway development.
Buffalo Forge Company is the site where Willis Carrier patented the air-conditioner.
NYS Homes and Community Renewal* Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The Forge on Broadway reflects HCR’s holistic approach to revitalizing neighborhoods by building mixed-use developments near job centers. With the transformation of this vacant industrial site, we are bringing 158 new homes and commercial space to Buffalo’s East Side and building a stronger economy in Western New York.”
At the groundbreaking, Mayor Brown touted the $50.7 million dollar investment (first phase of the four-phase redevelopment) as a big boon for the East Side. Dr. Rhonda Ricks stated that she grew up three blocks from the site, and was happy to be making the investment in a neighborhood where she once lived.
“The Buffalo Forge site remained contaminated, vacant, and an eyesore to this east side community for more the 30 years,” said Ricks. “To participate in the transition of this site to a viable community continues with the mission of my company, which is to change the quality of people’s lives. Thank you to Mayor Brown and the entire WNY delegation for your support in bringing this vision to reality.”
The investment will ultimately have a great effect on the future of Broadway – a street that could certainly use a lift but has seen increased developer interest particularly closer to downtown. Once open, Buffalo Forge will also feature a lively health and wellness environment, with a running track, green roof, exercise stations, bike storage, library, and electric charging stations. There will also be an added health benefit for people living at the site, according to Stuart Alexander, who said that they would be collaborating with medical community to create an environment in the building that would provide health and wellness for tenants and people in the community.
*New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s financing for The Forge on Broadway includes $7.9 million in tax-exempt bonds, federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Brownfield tax credits that will generate a total of $26.5 million for the project, and an additional $13.4 million in subsidy.