In Mayor Brown’s 2020 State of the City address, he discussed a new campaign that is being rolled out called Buffalo’s Race for Place. Diving deeper into the dynamics of this campaign, led by the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, the plan entails seeking out additional (and strengthened) public-private partnership opportunities that will help to bolster critical mass and vibrancy in Downtown Buffalo. We are all aware that there are some real success stories underway, which is why Mayor Brown is saying that it’s the perfect time for collaborations. The campaign is a call to action that would see the following needs addressed:
- Critical infrastructure and public space improvements
- Increase accessibility and inclusion
- Promote infill development
- Integrate intelligent technology and placemaking design
- Address quality of life needs/amenities
“I am extremely excited to unveil Buffalo’s Race for Place and the related Accelerator Fund, as these concepts represent a forward-thinking and timely approach to realizing our vision for the City of Buffalo as an epicenter of innovation, talent, and economic and social equity,” said Mayor Brown.
For years, we’ve talked about the need for these types of measures implemented in downtown Buffalo. There is now a collective and inclusive mindset, with a scale of private investment that we have not seen in our lifetimes, with initiatives that are critical to the future wellbeing of Buffalo. Mayor Brown pointed out that Smart City design, transportation, and safety solutions are also on the table.
“Buffalo’s Race for Place will bring together learnings from past City-led studies and global talent trends, and combine such intelligence with citizen and worker inputs, and the insights of local businesses,” said Mayor Brown. “This collaboration will help position the City of Buffalo and Western New York to compete on the broader economic development stage, with a very clear message that our region is truly in this together and fighting to win.”
The new initiative will commence with an opening focus on several key considerations, including:
- Advancement of the downtown infrastructure plan, streetscape improvements, and placemaking in key investment corridors and nodes
- The strengthening of anchors located along the Main Street “Knowledge Corridor”
- Progressive land-use policies that prioritize traffic calming, demand and load management, and pedestrian and bicycle friendly activity, as well as promotion of public transit usage, and continuation of Cars Sharing Main Street
- Implementation of additional Smart City technology solutions and capabilities within such corridors and beyond Additive public safety solutions to further community and new resident confidence
- Increased urban vibrancy and activation through implementation and feedback inputs from citizens and employees/employers (via City of Buffalo, Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, and community outreach)
- Integration with existing talent attraction activities, organizations, and region-wide campaigns, such as Be in Buffalo
As the private sector strengthens, there will be more a demand for skilled workers. Therefore, there will be an enhanced concentration on recruitment, training, and up-skilling programs. Mayor Brown stated that these efforts are being driven by significant investments by companies such as M&T Bank at the Seneca One Douglas Development.
Mayor Brown continued, “Through Buffalo’s Race for Place, the City of Buffalo—and its diverse public and private sector workforce, which hails from all parts of the region—will play an ever-increasing role in making our urban areas both inclusive and attractive to prospective talent.”
The Brown Administration also lauded the efforts of Douglas Development Corporation (DDC) and its willingness to work with the City to achieve these goals. For example, DDC has agreed to forego the possibility of substantial tax benefits for the company’s Seneca One Douglas Development project. The full tax level payments would be directed to the Accelerator Fund. In return, the City will advance vital infrastructure improvements within the City of Buffalo. The City also plans on matching the investment, which would create funding upwards of $40 million that would be earmarked for business development and talent attraction through infrastructure improvements.
“Douglas Development Corporation has yet again shown a commitment to the City of Buffalo through its enthusiastic endorsement of this unique public-private partnership investment, and it offers an amazing jumpstart for Buffalo’s Race for Place efforts,” said Mayor Brown.
It is these types of synergistic relationships that create win-win scenarios that will lead to the betterment of all of Buffalo.
To learn more about Buffalo’s Race for Place, visit raceforplacebuffalo.com.