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ESD: Applications accepted for new community-based real estate development training program on Buffalo's east side


Mon, Jan 13th 2020 12:00 pm

Empire State Development announced applications are now being accepted for the inaugural class of the community-based real estate development training program, which teaches east side building owners and community members how to plan for and implement a commercial real estate development project.

The program is designed to build a community of citizen developers on the east side of Buffalo by empowering community members with the skills and knowledge to successfully complete a project. It is part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s $50 million East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund and funded in collaboration with private and philanthropic organizations who created a pooled $8 million East Side Collaborative Fund to support capacity-building programs such as this. Applications for the community-based real estate development training program are due Feb. 21, and are available on the program website here.

“The community-based real estate development training program will ensure local input in improving the land and buildings along Buffalo’s east side corridors, with additional support from ESD capital grants available to program graduates for their property renovation and reuse,” said ESD Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler.

“I am committed to ensuring that the east side community benefits from the city’s economic resurgence,” City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said. “To that end, my administration worked with Empire State Development to develop this great program that positions east side property owners to participate in the growth of their community by making them developers.”

The community-based real estate development training program is designed to enable community members to develop their own properties, fostering entrepreneurial spirit and creativity and to better ensure that lands and buildings along the east side corridors are improved in a manner driven by the east side community. It will include the opportunity to apply for capital funding from ESD for those who complete the training program, which will support the renovation and reuse of their properties.

The community-based real estate development training program was developed through collaboration of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo Regional Institute, Local Initiatives Support Corp., ESD and the City of Buffalo.

“The community-based real estate development training program empowers Buffalo’s east side by situating expert knowledge in real estate development within the community,” said Robert G. Shibley, dean of UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, which has informed the effort through its real estate development degree program and research team at the UB Regional Institute. “We’re committed to public access to our teaching and scholarship and are proud to be part of a powerful partnership with ESD, the City of Buffalo, LISC and O-H Community Partners.”

Participants will be selected from a pool of applicants through a selection process, which includes a written application and an in-person interview. Applicants will be reviewed based on their residency, ownership of commercial property (and its location), development experience, vision for commercial property development, entrepreneurship, and impact of the project.

Program Details and Requirements

Applicants accepted into the program will actively participate in 19-week course, including 18 weeks of classroom instruction and a graduation. Classes will take place on Wednesday evenings with one required Saturday obligation. They are scheduled to begin on April 22, and will take place at the Northland Workforce Training Center at 683 Northland Ave., Buffalo.

Students who successfully complete the training program will receive a certificate of completion and participate in a completion ceremony in August.

All candidates interested in participating in the 2020 training program must complete the application located on the program website here. Application materials must be received no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21. There is no cost to apply, however those accepted must pay a one-time nonrefundable $250 registration fee. Other costs, including tuition and books, are covered through the East Side Collaborative Fund. Interviews for selected applicants will be scheduled March 9-13, and accepted applicants will be notified by March 20.

The curriculum is designed to provide an overview of the commercial real estate development process in Buffalo, including pre-development, construction management, property management, and financing the project from private and public sources. A wide range of experts in the field will serve as instructors. Classes will include personal experiences from commercial real estate developers in Buffalo as well as instruction by lecture.

See the program website here for program information and answers to frequently asked questions. Any additional questions regarding this training program should be directed to the program director at [email protected].

Cuomo’s $50 million East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund compliments his previously announced investments on the east side of $10 million for the Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative and $5 million for the Buffalo Central Terminal, for a total of $65 million in investments since 2017.

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