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Brown announces new management team for Buffalo Urban Development Corp.

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Tue, Mar 30th 2021 05:35 pm

Brandye Merriweather is BUCD’s new president, Rebecca Gandour is corporation’s new executive vice president

Mayor Byron Brown, who also serves as chairman of the Buffalo Urban Development Corp.’s board of directors, announced the new BUDC management team to replace Peter Cammarata, who is retiring after 14 years as president of the development agency.

Brandye Merriweather was appointed as BUDC president, while Rebecca Gandour was named executive vice president.

“The president and executive vice president roles have a very productive and successful history at BUDC. This structure has set a strong foundation for the organization, which I am confident Ms. Merriweather and Ms. Gandour will continue to build upon,” Brown said. “Their promotions also highlight my commitment to diversity and inclusion, especially in leadership, as these two women serve as integral members of the city’s development team.”

Merriweather said, “I am honored to serve as president of the Buffalo Urban Development Corp. I look forward to furthering the incredible groundwork that has been laid through Pete Cammarata’s tenure at BUDC and infusing new innovations that will reflect Buffalo’s diversity and carry our city into the future.”

Gandour said, “As executive vice president of BUDC, I look forward to being an integral part of the City of Buffalo’s major strategic development efforts as we continue working to build a city for all.”

Brown congratulated Cammarata on his retirement and noted his major achievements over the past decade.

“Peter has been a significant contributor to Buffalo’s transformation for over 25 years, serving as BUDC president for the past 14 years, increasing the corporation’s assets from less than $3 million to more than $100 million,” Brown said. “Peter’s leadership of BUDC, working in partnership with my administration and the Empire State Development Corp., was instrumental in harnessing Gov. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion for the Northland Corridor redevelopment project, as well creation of the innovative Buffalo Lakeside Development Park.”

Brown also announced the promotion of Art Hall to senior project manager for the Northland Corridor redevelopment project. BUDC will conduct a search for a director of project development, focusing on the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park project, which begins construction next year, as well as the continued expansion of the Northland Corridor.

Since joining BUDC in 2013, Merriweather has been responsible for the Buffalo Building Reuse Project that furthered the development of downtown Buffalo through the adaptive reuse of vacant and underutilized buildings; encouraged residential development and the activation of vacant spaces and small business support. Brandye also spearheaded the Queen City Pop Up Project, downtown’s first pop-up retail program.

Most recently, Brandye has begun the implementation of Buffalo’s Race For Place initiative, which focuses on talent attraction through placemaking, vibrant streetscapes and integration of smart cities technology. In addition, Brandye has worked closely with the City of Buffalo on securing millions in funding for infrastructure projects and has worked to develop and implement strategies to further the redevelopment of Buffalo’s downtown area and waterfront.

Gandour joined BUDC in 2020 after serving as the city’s director of development, bringing with her almost 10 years of real estate finance and development experience. She oversaw the city’s economic development programs and worked closely with Empire State Development Corp., BUDC, and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, where she advocated for the city's interests in state and local economic development.

She helped to negotiate the agreement with Douglas Development that capitalized the Accelerator Fund, a groundbreaking public private partnership. Other major development projects included the facilitating of AMC theater opening on Main Street; a $10 million private investment; and 201 Ellicott, a $75 million investment that included a fresh food market and 201 affordable housing units. Since joining BUDC, Gandour has focused on implementing the Centennial Park vision and corporation finances and governance.

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