11 downtown Buffalo revitalization projects win $10 million to restore heritage, add pedestrian connections & green streetscapes

On November 14, 2022, 11 transformational projects in Buffalo, New York‘s Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood were announced.

They will enhance the downtown quality of life and create business, employment, and housing opportunities as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award.

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 greenspace – all energized by the people of this proud multi-cultural community, who are eager and ready to create a better, stronger and safer tomorrow.

These regenerative 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.

State Senator Tim Kennedy said, “The Broadway-Fillmore community’s best days are ahead, with new life being breathed into this historic district. With these eleven 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 Governor Hochul for her strong support for Buffalo’s neighborhoods.”

The improvements are part of Governor Kathy Hochul‘s ongoing efforts to revitalize the upstate economy and uplift Western New York communities.

We are forging a new path forward for Buffalo — making significant investments that will help continue to rewrite the Buffalo comeback story,” Governor Hochul said.

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,” she added.

Buffalo’s Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood was named a DRI Round 5 winner in 2021.

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 Governor Hochul and Regional Economic Development Council of WNY for this $10 million worth of investment on Buffalo’s Eastside; 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.”

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 1-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 multi-family 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 multi-use 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 Avenue 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. 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 Governor Hochul for her continued support of this important program that continues to invest in communities all over this great state.

Buffalo Councilmember Mitch Nowakowski said, “When the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood was announced as a DRI awardee last year, I knew the funds would make a transformational impact in the community. This investment will continue to shine a light on the potential of the district. I thank the Governor for prioritizing the East Side of Buffalo and the families who make their home here!

Rendering of 950 Broadway project courtesy of Office of Gov. Hochul.

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