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Officials announce $14 million in new markets tax credits to Buffalo's Northland Central redevelopment

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Wed, Jan 24th 2018 01:20 pm
Higgins, Hochul, Quinn applaud contribution as investment into future of workers in Western New York
Building America, a wholly owned affiliate of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, announced $9 million of New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) for Northland Central, which includes a cutting-edge facility that will annually train 300 local workers to fill quality jobs in the modernized manufacturing sector. Another $5 million in NMTCs will come from the National Trust Community Investment Corp. (NTCIC).
At a press conference Tuesday, Building America was joined by the project sponsor, Buffalo Urban Development Corp., Western NY AFL-CIO President Richard Lipsitz Jr., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Rep. Brian Higgins, HIT Vice Chairman Jack Quinn, and other financing partners in making the announcement at Northland Central.
"The Northland Center symbolizes Gov. Cuomo's historic investment in the economic rebirth that has brought jobs, opportunity, and optimism back to Buffalo," Hochul said. "The investment in workforce development in Buffalo's East Side will ensure equal opportunity for all residents. It also affirms our commitment to building a world-class workforce, ready for the jobs we are creating today and in the future, and we are grateful to Building America for sharing our vision."‚Äč
Higgins praised the NMTC program, a federal initiative that encourages the investment of private equity in community development and economic growth in distressed communities.
"Recently at risk of complete elimination, federal New Markets Tax Credits will help make the Northland Central project possible and give Buffalo the tools to do what it does best - reimagine our future by building on our unique strengths and history," Higgins said. "Ours is a community that wears proudly a strong work ethic, and Northland Central will provide residents the skills and training necessary to fill the high-demand jobs of today and tomorrow. This commitment by Building America and its funders through the federal New Markets Tax Credit program represents an investment in our neighborhoods, investment in our people, and investment in our future."
In addition to the NMTCs, other investors in the training center include New York Power Authority, Citi Community Capital and Cuomo's Buffalo Billion program, which plans to invest $1.5 billion in the area economy.
"Citi is thrilled to be part of this transformative public-private partnership that utilizes state and local resources, federal programs including New Markets Tax Credits and Historic Tax Credits, and private capital to reinvigorate this community," said Jacob Zlotoff, director, Citi Community Capital. "The jobs that it will create and sustain, and the opportunities they provide, will benefit not only those who participate directly, but the entire city, as well."
Quinn, who held the NY-26 congressional seat from 1993-2005, was instrumental in bringing Building America to the project. Erie Community College, where Quinn served as president from 2008-17, is providing educational staff and curriculum to the workforce training center.
"The Northland Workforce Training Center promises quality education, quality jobs and quality service to the city's workforce," Quinn said. "Building America is a natural partner on this project given its commitment to bringing jobs and services to severely distressed communities."
The Northland Workforce Training Center, located at 683 Northland Ave., Buffalo, reuse part of a historic vacant industrial complex and serve as an anchor for the broader Northland Central project. Approximately 93,000 square feet of the 240,000-square-foot building will be used for the training center.
The center is expected to create an estimated 329 union construction jobs, as well as another 69 new positions, while retaining 124 permanent jobs in management, counseling, administration, faculty, building operations, maintenance and security. There is a 30 percent local hiring requirement and up to 20 low-income residents will be accepted into the building trades pre-apprenticeship program.
Once completed, workers will be trained at the center for entry-level operator jobs in machinery, welding, transformers and other positions.
"We are investing in the future of America, and that future begins here in Buffalo. The first solar roof tile manufacturing started here just last month, and Northland Central is the key to a skilled and trained workforce for cutting-edge efforts like that," said Ted Chandler, HIT's chief operating officer, who noted that, in 2013, Building America committed over $9.2 million in NMTCs toward Roswell Parks' Clinical Sciences Center.
"We are proud to help make the Northland Central project a reality," said Buford Sears, KeyBank's WNY market president. "KeyBank believes in this project, Buffalo's workforce, and Buffalo's future. This investment will help Buffalo thrive for generations to come.''
Michael Phillips, public policy manager at NTCIC, said Northland Central will be more than a rehabilitated historic building. "It is estimated that 300 low-income persons annually will be positively impacted by the programs offered at the Northland Workforce Training Center. Of the anticipated construction jobs, 30 percent will be dedicated to local residents, 25 percent to minorities and 5 percent specifically to women. We are honored to be a part of this impactful project."
About Building America
Since it was formed in 2010, Building America has allocated $117.5 million of New Markets Tax Credits to 15 projects across the U.S. As an affiliate of parent company AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT), Building America works to create economic empowerment and opportunity, bringing jobs and services to severely distressed communities. More information is available on the Building America website, www.buildingamericacde.com.

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