December 17, 2013
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces First Phase of Major Redevelopment Project on Buffalo's East Side

Governor Cuomo Announces First Phase of Major Redevelopment Project on Buffalo's East Side

See a map of the Northland Avenue Belt Line Corridor here.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $6.7 million, as part of the Buffalo Billion, for the acquisition and site planning of 50 acres of vacant or underutilized industrial land on Buffalos East Side. This is the first phase of the next major redevelopment project in the City of Buffalo and will lead to a business park focused on the manufacturing and energy sectors.

Reclaiming this land will revitalize a distressed neighborhood and make this vacant property home to an advanced manufacturing hub that will attract jobs and investment, Governor Cuomo said. Western New York is on the move and this Buffalo Billion investment will only add to this momentum.

Over the last decade, the city has focused much of its industrial land reclamation efforts in South Buffalo, with remarkable success, as evidenced by the Governors announcement of the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend. Now, with the city facing a shortage of shovel-ready, light industrial land for the projected growth in manufacturing, Buffalo is shifting its focus on the repurposing of the former industrial land on the eastside, such as the Northland Avenue Belt Line Corridor.

This combined with the interest in investing in existing assets and infrastructure, such as streetscape improvements along Northland, Winchester and East Delavan avenues and housing stabilization projects in the surrounding neighborhoods, encourages walkability and multi-modal transportation, connects disadvantaged communities with employment clusters, and attracts private investment.

The redevelopment of the site supports the Western New York Regional Economic Development Councils smart growth strategy and will provide many local residents with future employment opportunities within walking distance of their homes. The Empire State Development Board of Directors approved the $6.7 million today. Once the site planning is complete, including SEQRA, the Empire State Development board will approve additional funding for future development.

Howard Zemsky, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and Larkin Development Group Managing Partner, said, Funding through the Buffalo Billion will help us continue to focus on revitalizing the City of Buffalo to increase density in the citys core, create new employment clusters and attract private investment. With this investment, the East Side of Buffalo will be poised and ready to capitalize on the projected growth of our manufacturing and energy sectors.

Empire State Development, the states economic development agency, will grant Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, the City of Buffalos not-for-profit land reclamation and development agency, the funds to purchase the land and redevelop the properties. The Corporation and the state will invest in necessary site improvements and work to attract business in the critical growing sectors of manufacturing, energy and related firms to the corridor.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, The Buffalo Billion is enhancing Western New Yorks competitive edge by creating an economic climate that attracts new developments in fast-growing, high-tech fields. The Northland Avenue Belt Line Corridor redevelopment plan is a great example of the progress being made since it will create jobs and bring new life to Buffalos East Side.

The Northland Avenue Belt Line Corridoran industrial/commercial/residential neighborhoodis one of the most extensive industrial areas in terms of size and density on Buffalos eastside. Historically, it was developed as a center for manufacturing due to the confluence of several major rail corridors, including the New York Central Beltline. Throughout the 20th century, facilities along these corridors produced airplanes, automobiles, furniture, mechanical parts, fuel components, food products and heavy machinery. Today, much of the residential and commercial fabric of this area remains in close proximity to abandoned industrial plants, posing environmental and remediation challenges. These blighting influences have added to the neighborhoods high vacancy rates and reduced economic vitality.

Despite this decline, the area is prime for redevelopment. The corridor is located near the Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, downtown Buffalo and the Larkin District. Important workforce training assets, such as Buffalos Math Science Technology Preparatory School and Burgard High Schoolthe newly announced manufacturing magnet school in partnership with Alfred State Collegeare located adjacent to the project site. In addition, existing businesses, an accessible labor force, established road and utility infrastructure, the potential for land assembly and potential rail access make it an ideal location for the citys next manufacturing center. The site is also unique because of its proximity to two walkable residential neighborhoods serviced by community assets.

Senator Tim Kennedy said, "Investing in necessary site improvements along the Northland Avenue Belt Line Corridor will turn vacant properties into shovel ready sites for new businesses. Governor Cuomo's Buffalo Billion initiative has attracted the interest of businesses around the world and this investment provides those businesses with the incentive to move to Buffalo and create new economic activity on Buffalo's East Side."

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, This investment is key for the East Side community. This shovel-ready site, with great rail and highway access, will be a great asset to attract manufacturers to the area, ultimately providing all residents with access to family-sustaining jobs. I thank Governor Cuomo and his Buffalo Billion team for recognizing the potential of the Northland Avenue Industrial Corridor.

City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "I worked closely with the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation to push for this investment on Buffalo's East Side because I am confident it will have a profound and positive impact on driving investment, innovation and job creation just like we are seeing happen at the High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend. Governor Cuomo and I share the same vision about the critical and strategic importance of this investment to help continue the economic transformation taking place on Buffalos Eastside and in all of Buffalo, where over $4.5 billion in new economic development activity is underway, creating over 12,000 new jobs.