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$1.25 million in Buffalo Building Reuse Project (BBRP) funds be invested to advance three key infrastructure projects downtown.

 

Directors of the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC) have recommended that $1.25 million in Buffalo Building Reuse Project (BBRP) funds be invested to advance three key infrastructure projects downtown. Projects set to receive funding:

  • Genesee Street Gateway & Streetscape
  • Sreetscape enhancements along Chippewa Street from Main Street to Elmwood Avenue
  • Advanced design and engineering work for Perry Street, to further design work already prepared by neighborhood stakeholders.

The funding is part of the $11.25 million allocated to BBRP by Mayor Byron W. Brown in January 2012 and later partially matched by National Grid.

Funds were awarded to the Genesee Gateway Streetscape project (images) to plan an extension of the original plan. The project will now extend to Main Street and to Elm Street, past Catholic Health's new administrative center that is under construction. The additional funding will add two blocks to the scope of the project. Original plans called for work along Genesee Street from Washington Street to Oak Street. A roundabout at Ellicott/Genesee/Chippewa is no longer being considered for financial and scheduling reasons.

Projects were selected based on compatibility with BBRP, a yearlong public/private study of the downtown real estate market completed by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. BBRP resulted in several initiatives to increase downtown's competitiveness for private investment. Considered criteria include:

  • Connections with existing and planned infrastructure investments
  • Gateway' status, visibility, and impact on downtown's overall image
  • Ability to leverage additional private investment
  • Mechanisms in place for long-term upkeep and maintenance

These projects are the first allotment of BBRP funds to infrastructure projects, and will be followed in subsequent years by additional investment. Both Mayor Brown and National Grid made multi-year commitments to BBRP.

"This commitment of $1 million from my $11.25 million commitment to the Buffalo Building Reuse Project for these three major street improvement projects complements the $1.7 billion in economic development activity currently underway in Buffalo," said Mayor Byron Brown.

"BBRP provides downtown Buffalo a clear and strategic roadmap to become more competitive for private investment," said Andrew J. Rudnick, president & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. "Infrastructure investments in Genesee, Chippewa, and Perry streets are consistent with the strategic objectives of BBRP and are designed to further leverage and enhance and private sector investment in downtown Buffalo."

"We are proud to be the first partner in the Buffalo Reuse Project and hope it will leverage further private sector investment," said Dennis Elsenbeck, regional executive for National Grid.

Work along both Genesee and Chippewa streets is expected to start late this year or in early 2014. Funding to construct the Perry Street upgrades is still being sought.

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