Fund designed to stabilize at-risk buildings for commercial use & redevelopment
Empire State Development, East Side Avenues and Preservation Buffalo Niagara announced applications are available for funding dedicated to the stabilization of historic at-risk buildings on Buffalo’s East Side. The $5 million Commercial Building Stabilization Fund, part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, aims to help “protect the fabric, density and character of the East Side – making sure that neighborhood buildings in need of preventative stabilization can be maintained for prospective mixed-use, retail, commercial or residential development. These restorations will also help to further increase the area’s commercial activity.”
A total of $500,000 will be made available for this initial round, which is being administered by Preservation Buffalo Niagara. Additional funding will be made available in future rounds, for a total of $5 million.
“The East Side Commercial Building Stabilization Fund is an important placemaking resource that invests in the preservation of historic neighborhood structures and encourages their future restoration,” said ESD Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler. “These community-strengthening measures are key to Buffalo’s continued resurgence.”
“Across the City of Buffalo, we have seen the role that preservation has played in the health and opportunities of our neighborhoods,” said Jessie Fisher, executive director of PBN. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to ensure that the East Side is not left out of the social and economic benefits afforded by a commitment to preservation of place.”
The fund will increase opportunities for reuse of the stock of historic buildings located on Buffalo’s East Side. A press release said, “It ensures the region’s unique history, beauty and sense of place are retained through its architecture, landscapes and urban design, and reverses the decades-long practice of demolishing building stock. Grants of up to $50,000 will support seal-up efforts, such as roof patching and mothballing precautions, and more complicated structural issues that will help prevent crisis-level failures in the future or, even worse, additional emergency demolitions of the existing urban fabric. The fund will ensure that viable buildings, regardless of code violations or structural deficiencies, are not torn down as a short-sighted ‘solution.’ Instead, these buildings will remain intact and made available for reuse.”
The program is open to owners of commercial and mixed-use structures that were built more than 50 years ago and meet additional program criteria as outlined in the program guidelines. The full program guidelines and applications can be found at https://preservationbuffaloniagara.org/east-side-commercial-building-stabilization-fund/. First-round funding award applications are due on or postmarked by Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. For more information, contact Bridge Rauche at 716-852-3300 or [email protected].
East Side Avenues Co-Chair and M&T Bank Community Reinvestment Manager Brad Dossinger said, “Historic preservation is an important element of any economic development strategy – especially in a region rich with history and beauty like Buffalo. More than any other area of the city, the East Side has historic buildings in danger of demolition by neglect. By stabilizing and preserving historic buildings on Buffalo’s East Side, the Commercial Building Stabilization Fund will ensure the community’s unique history, beauty and sense of place are retained and can help serve as a building block for ongoing, community based economic development.”