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Seneca Street (National Grid photo)
Seneca Street (National Grid photo)

National Grid supports WNY revitalization and growth with $1 million in economic development grants


Thu, Feb 15th 2024 10:40 pm

Company funding results in regional community benefits through property redevelopment, reuse, repurposing

National Grid Press Release

National Grid is supporting revitalization and growth in Western New York by providing more than $1 million in economic development grants to regional businesses that are redeveloping brownfield sites and historic buildings, repurposing abandoned and dilapidated properties, turning vacant stores into affordable housing units, renovating space to create a permanent home for a nonprofit organization, and more.

The company provided the funding through its suite of economic development programs, which offers strategic investments and incentive programs to fuel regional business development, create jobs and elevate local growth and vitality.

“Many of our customers are passionate about transforming older buildings or unused land into affordable housing, new retail stores, commercial centers and apartments that will benefit our communities,” National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa said. “Our longstanding commitment to Western New York includes partnering with these visionaries and connecting them to our economic development programs so that their projects can be seen through to completion.”

The eight western New York projects benefitting from National Grid’s economic development funding include:

•Uniland Development’s Lackawanna Manufacturing/Warehouse site: Uniland Development Co.’s new $18.9 million, 151,000-square-foot manufacturing, warehouse and distribution facility is adjacent to a similarly sized project at Lackawanna’s Renaissance Commerce Park. To remediate the brownfield site, National Grid provided a $300,000 brownfield redevelopment program grant, which funds utility-related infrastructure improvements and other costs necessary to advance the redevelopment of a brownfield or vacant building.

“The significance of grants, such as the one awarded by National Grid for Uniland’s warehouse in Lackawanna, are critical to unlocking new economic activity,” Uniland CEO Michael Montante said. “New developments initiate a ripple effect of economic vitality. The arrival of one prominent client at a site often attracts others, fostering increased economic activity and expanding the tax base for both the local municipality and the region. We applaud National Grid for playing a pivotal role in fostering growth across Western New York.”

•West Tupper Street Project in Buffalo: National Grid awarded a $300,000 brownfield redevelopment grant to 147 West Tupper LLC for its $16.5 million, mixed-use redevelopment project at 147 W. Tupper St. There, an abandoned auto shop, dilapidated buildings and vacant lots will be replaced with 42 apartment units and 15,000-square-feet of ground floor retail space. The grant will be used to offset abatement, demolition and remediation costs.

“I very much appreciate National Grid’s support in helping to make possible this important project that will benefit the community,” said Chris Wan, owner, 147 West Tupper Street LLC. “What has been an underutilized site for decades will now become a transformative project that this neighborhood deserves.”

•Six Main Street Revitalization Grants Across the Region: Each of the following projects is being supported through National Grid’s Main Street Revitalization program, which is used as part of renewal plans for main streets and commercial corridors in villages, towns and cities within the company’s service territory.

√ $100,000 was awarded to Cedarland Development Group to revitalize 950 Broadway in Buffalo. The site of the former Eckhardt’s and Kobacker’s department stores had been vacant for decades. The $13.5 million project calls for renovation and conversion of 50,000 square-feet of space into mixed-use development, featuring 28 affordable housing units, a child education program and an indoor farm.

√ $100,000 for TM Montante Development, which is completing environmental remediation, exterior rehabilitation, and interior reconstruction of what had been a medical building at the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital site in Buffalo. When finished, the 11,200-square-foot, vacant building will include 2,230-square-feet of commercial space and 12 new apartments.

“We are excited to bring this building back to life, as it represents the next steps in the larger Lancaster Square Development, retains important medical services in the community, and provides access to new housing opportunities,” Montante Construction Executive Director Byron DeLuke said.

√ $100,000 for the building at 2221 Seneca St., Buffalo, which in 1921 opened as SouthSide Bank. It is being converted it to “The Caz,” a music venue that will include a live performance stage, a mezzanine, a full kitchen and bar.

“National Grid’s generous grant was instrumental in redeveloping this historic building so that it could be an asset to the neighborhood again,” said Jake Schneider, president, Schneider Development Services.

√ $50,000 grant supports redevelopment of a 10,000-square-foot building at 284 Plymouth Ave., Buffalo. The award supports Ellicott Development’s renovations of the 4,800-square-foot space to create a permanent home for nonprofit Stitch Buffalo, an embroidery workshop for refugee women. Retail space, a community room, a large sewing workshop and spaces for dyeing and screen printing are also planned.

√ $35,000 to restore the Angola Theater, which was built in 1924. New owners Myra Pinker and Gary Cerne are undertaking a $1.7 million project that includes upgrades and repairs, including those to the roof, plumbing, masonry and restoration of the marquee.

“We are extremely thankful and honored to be the recipient of a National Grid economic development grant,” Pinker said. “When complete, our theater will be a main attraction and cultural destination on Main Street.”

√ $25,000 to Sunset Custom Homes to renovate the vacant, 3,500-square-foot building at 7 N, Main St., Angola. When complete, this historic former firehouse – and later courthouse – will be used for retail space, plus a restaurant and banquet hall. Renovations include a new roof, windows, lighting, plumbing and asbestos removal.

More About National Grid’s Economic Development Grant Program

National Grid was recently recognized by leading economic development industry publication Site Selection Magazine as a 2023 Top Utility in Economic Development, selected from a pool of approximately 3,300 electric utilities from across the country. Of the 20 companies named by Site Selection, National Grid is the only utility to make the list with operations in the Northeast.

Since 2003, the company’s robust suite of 18 economic development grant programs has provided more than $154 million in assistance, helping to create or retain more than 67,000 jobs and supporting $11.7 billion in private and public investment across upstate New York. More information about National Grid’s suite of programs, including the program application, is available at www.shovelready.com.

National Grid is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company serving more than 20 million people through its networks in New York and Massachusetts. For more information, visit its website, follow on X (formerly Twitter), watch on YouTube, “Like” on Facebook or find on Instagram.

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