Buffalo Planning Board completes environmental review and approves plan for Workforce Training Center expected to train 300-400 workers yearly
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Western New York Workforce Training Center project reached an important milestone to redevelop underutilized property in the Northland Corridor into a new workforce training facility. The City of Buffalo Planning Board approved the project’s site plan after finding that there will be no significant environmental impacts associated with the redevelopment of the entire 35-acre site.
The approval marked a key moment in the project, advancing it towards the process of finalizing architectural and engineering design, construction documents, and cost estimates for the proposed building rehabilitation necessary to accommodate the new Workforce Training Center. The center is expected to begin operations in late 2017 and will train 300-400 workers yearly in manufacturing and energy jobs.
“This action will accelerate the redevelopment of Buffalo’s East Side and prepare the next generation for the jobs powering Western New York’s revitalization,” Governor Cuomo said. “This project is part of our administration’s ongoing efforts to grow Buffalo’s economy and will continue to generate opportunity for residents and businesses in Western New York for years to come.”
Governor Cuomo announced in September 2014 that $6.7 million would go toward the acquisition and site planning of a large swath of long-vacant and underutilized industrial land in the Northland Corridor on Buffalo’s East Side. Empire State Development, the state’s economic development agency, granted Buffalo Urban Development Corporation—the City of Buffalo’s not-for-profit land reclamation and development agency—the funds to purchase the land and redevelop the properties.
In July 2015, Governor Cuomo unveiled plans for the Western New York Workforce Training Center, a new hub that will focus primarily on training for careers in the advanced manufacturing and energy sectors. The center will anchor an estimated $44 million business park as part of the Northland Corridor Redevelopment and will ensure a robust and diversified workforce of highly-trained, skilled workers ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century electric utility and advanced manufacturing industries. The project is a partnership between BUDC, ESD, the City of Buffalo, and the New York Power Authority. The project is being funded as a major component of the Governor’s Buffalo Billion revitalization initiative.
While the City of Buffalo Planning Board approved the site plan for Phase I of the overall project, it also completed its required environmental review for the entire redevelopment plan, which identifies the properties along the corridor that will be stabilized, renovated, remediated, redeveloped and/or, in some cases, undergo select demolition for the purpose of returning the area to productive use, assist in the revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood and provide employment opportunities for nearby residents by creating a new manufacturing and employment hub on Buffalo’s East Side. The project envisions a fully redeveloped Northland corridor, ultimately with a total of approximately 750,000 square feet of light industrial and commercial/general office space.
View both the Northland Corridor Redevelopment Area Full Redevelopment Plan and the Western New York Workforce Training Center site plans here under Quick Links.
The project is anticipated to advance in multiple phases. Phase I will include the development of the Workforce Training Center and renovation/repairs to the existing structures at 683 Northland Avenue for multitenant use. The succeeding phases, which BUDC will have to return to the Planning Board for additional site plan approvals when required, will include stabilization, select demolition/renovation, new development, and/or site improvements for the remainder of the properties comprising the Northland Corridor.
City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “This action by the Buffalo Planning Board is another important step in moving this pivotal project forward. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s commitment to the Western New York Workforce Training Center, the Northland Redevelopment Project will soon accelerate the redevelopment of this section of Buffalo, repurposing long vacant buildings and property, and most critically, providing an environment for city residents to gain valuable training for good-paying, sustainable jobs. My Administration will contribute an additional $4 million to this very exciting and forward-thinking development that will further strengthen our city and our residents’ employment opportunities.”
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “With today’s City of Buffalo Planning Board approval, we are ready to move forward on the next steps to stabilize, remediate and redevelop these industrial properties. This project will strengthen the area by capitalizing on the growth of our manufacturing and energy sectors and revitalize a formerly vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood on Buffalo’s East Side.”
New York Power Authority Chairman John Koelmel said, “The Workforce Training Center will be a tremendous asset not just for the East Side of Buffalo but for the entire city and region. NYPA and the other utility companies need a consistent pipeline of skilled workers as our aging employee base increasingly becomes eligible for retirement. The Center will be important to ensure we and others can meet future personnel needs.”
Senator Tim Kennedy said, “Through a much-needed investment by New York State, these vacant buildings on Buffalo’s East Side will soon have new life and a new purpose: to spur opportunities for the surrounding neighborhoods, which have remained neglected for far too long. With this $44 million initiative, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated his commitment to the residents of those neighborhoods, who will now have workforce training and employment opportunities within walking distance of their homes.”
Assemblywoman Chrystal Peoples-Stokes said, “Governor Cuomo’s strategic investment in the East Side with the Northland Corridor Redevelopment Project is moving forward. This is exciting news because the project will ensure that the training for career opportunities in advanced manufacturing and energy sectors is available for city residents and will lead to a skilled and diversified workforce for these growing fields.”
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “The Western New York Workforce Training Center will train local workers for good careers and will provide a boost to the East Side of Buffalo. With the site plan now approved, I look forward to the seeing activity on the Northland Avenue Corridor that will make these vacant properties home to an advanced manufacturing and energy hub that will attract jobs and investment.”