Investment said to unlock new housing, business & employment opportunities in Buffalo's Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood, enhance quality of life for residents
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Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday announced 11 transformational projects in Buffalo's Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood to enhance the quality of life for Buffalonians, and create business, employment and housing opportunities as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award.
Her team said, “These investments will leverage the neighborhood's dense stock of largely historic commercial buildings for vibrant new green space, retail-oriented streets, improved bike and pedestrian connections and lively streetscapes. These improvements are part of the governor's ongoing efforts to revitalize the upstate economy and uplift Western New York communities.”
Hochul said, "We are forging a new path forward for Buffalo – making significant investments that will help continue to rewrite the Buffalo comeback story. Our investments in housing, economic development and job creation in east Buffalo will help breathe new life into the community and make it a better place to live and work. My administration will continue our efforts to transform neighborhoods into vibrant community centers and build a better future for New Yorkers."
Buffalo's Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood was named a DRI round five winner in 2021.
The specific projects to be funded through the DRI include:
•Enhancements to the Broadway Market – DRI Award: $2,500,000: The market's main entryway will be opened up to accommodate amenities including a foyer with a directory, public information booth, flower stall, and ATM machines; creating an outdoor farmers market; relocating tenant spaces on Broadway to be replaced by food-related vendors; and improving circulation throughout the market.
•Improvements to the Pedestrian Experience – DRI Award: $1,766,850: This project involves catalytic investment in state-of-the-art wayfinding and signage, new street lighting that is energy-efficient and enhances public safety, tree planting, and new public amenities such as public outdoor seating and flower planters to create a more inviting public realm for residents and visitors.
•Construction of the Buffalo Central Terminal Great Lawn – DRI Award: $1,000,000: This underutilized grassy lawn will be transformed into a welcoming and highly active green space for year-round use, including recreational activities, organized sporting events, and events to drive interest and support for future building uses.
•Renovating 239 Lombard To Provide Child Care & Train Child Care Workers – DRI Award: $1,000,000: The first two floors of the existing property will be renovated into a child care facility that could serve up to 90 children and employ at least 20 people, as well as a facility to train the child care workers.
•Creating an Innovative Organic Container Farm – DRI Award: $664,000: This abandoned building and its adjacent parking lot will be repurposed into a one-acre container farm. The solar-powered facility will support packaging and include office space. This will serve an area designated as a food desert with locally grown, organic produce.
•Revitalizing Sears Paderewski Park – DRI Award: $630,000: The park will be rebuilt to create a multipurpose gathering space with tree plantings, new hardscape and amenities, as well as playground equipment, a new pavilion and civic space. The pavilion will act as a gathering space for small performances, outdoor markets, and a shaded accessible play area.
•Creating Affordable Housing at Playter Gardens at the Market – DRI Award: $550,000: The project will create 62 units of infill development consisting of a variety of affordable housing types ranging from single-family rentals to stacked three-story, garden-style multifamily apartment units with a total of over 64,000-square-feet of residential space.
•Renovating Historic Schreiber Brewery – DRI Award: $500,000: The current property will be renovated into a multiuse flexible commercial space, including brewing production space, a "brewseum,” brewing wholesale manufacturing business, and other office, commercial and residential uses.
•Renovating 950 Broadway for Affordable Daycare Center – DRI Award: $427,150: A former commercial building will be renovated into a day care center. The building will be configured into six classrooms, a commercial kitchen, two gross motor play spaces, nutritional storage, office storage and bathrooms. It will also add an outdoor playground for multiple age groups.
•Expanding an Established Neighborhood Bakery – DRI Award: $362,000: A neighborhood staple and one of the largest employers in Broadway-Fillmore, the bakery plans to expand its facilities to the adjacent 185 Sweet Ave. parcel. This project includes the renovation of a vacant structure to expand production capacity.
•Improving the Matt Urban Center for Afterschool and Performance Space – DRI Award: $290,000: This project will preserve the building and help the Matt Urban Center meet its licensing requirement for an afterschool program. Hochul’s team said, “A cornerstone in the community, an upgraded Matt Urban Center will significantly contribute to neighborhood revitalization through the provision of critical services.”
New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is the Department of State's flagship program, which gives communities the opportunity to positively transform and revitalize their downtowns, turning them into vibrant places to live, work and play. I thank Gov. Hochul for her continued support of this important program that continues to invest in communities all over this great state."
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "A healthy, vibrant east side is key to growing Buffalo's reputation as a city with new economic opportunities in all of its neighborhoods, rather than a select few. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative has targeted projects that will encourage the growth of new businesses, housing and green space – all energized by the people of this proud multicultural community, who are eager and ready to create a better, stronger and safer tomorrow."
New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy said, "The Broadway-Fillmore community's best days are ahead, with new life being breathed into this historic district. With these 11 projects, Broadway-Fillmore will be an even more inclusive and welcoming place that reflects its rich culture and history. Thank you to everyone whose input and insight helped to identify these projects, and thank you to Gov. Hochul for her strong support for Buffalo's neighborhoods."
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, "Congratulations to all of today's award recipients of the Broadway-Fillmore Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Thank you Gov. Hochul and Regional Economic Development Council of WNY for this $10 million worth of investment on Buffalo's east side – it is a long time coming to help stabilize and grow our community. With population growth as the foundation, there is a creative vibrancy and diversity brewing that will spur this community into the future."
Downtown Revitalization Initiative
Hochul’s team said, “New York state's DRI, a cornerstone of its economic development program, transforms downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers that offer a high quality of life and are magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, and economic and housing diversity. Led by the Department of State with assistance from Empire State Development, Homes and Community Renewal and NYSERDA, the DRI represents an unprecedented and innovative ‘plan-then-act’ strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation and results in compact, walkable downtowns that are a key ingredient to helping New York state rebuild its economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to achieving the state's bold climate goals by promoting the use of public transit and reducing dependence on private vehicles.”
More information on the DRI is available here.