East Side Commercial Building Stabilization Fund

About the Fund

As part of the East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund (an initiative of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion), Empire State Development (ESD) established a $5 million East Side Commercial Building Stabilization Fund that will help to protect the fabric, density, character, and community on the East Side – making sure that building assets on the East Side that may have current challenges are able to be maintained for prospective future development as mixed-use, retail, and commercial uses, and can help to build up the strong commercial activity already present in areas on the East Side.

Empire State Development is partnering with Preservation Buffalo Niagara and City of Buffalo Department of Permits and Inspection Services to implement the Fund.

Fund Goals

The Fund will provide a dedicated funding source that will support near-term stabilization of at-risk historic buildings on the East Side with preference given to those buildings along commercial corridors especially in the target investment areas of the East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund. The Fund will support smaller, seal-up efforts such as roof patching, mothballing precautions, etc.—or rather, correcting obstacles that are preventing active use and business activity – to help prevent crisis-level failures in the future or, even worse, additional emergency demolitions of the existing urban fabric along commercial corridors.  It will ensure that buildings with code violations or structural deficiencies, but where there is not a currently viable project, are not torn down as a short sighted “solution”; rather, such buildings will be kept viable through the Fund, so that when there are market opportunities, the resources themselves will be intact and available for re-use.

Fund Eligibility

  • Applicants must demonstrate ownership of all buildings/real estate considered part of the proposed project or demonstrate expressed authorization of the property owner. Buildings must be privately owned.
  • The building must be a commercial or mixed-use property located on Buffalo’s East Side. For the purposes of the ESCEDF, the East Side is defined as 17 square miles, bounded by the University at Buffalo (UB) to the north; Main Street and Michigan Avenue (excluding the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and Central Business District) to the west; I-190 and the Buffalo River to the south; and the City line to the east. While any historic commercial or mixed-use building located on the East Side is eligible to apply, preference will be given to those buildings along commercial corridors especially in the target investment areas of the ESCEDF (See Attachment A: East Side Eligible Geography Map).
  • The building must be historic. For purposes of this Fund, “historic” shall mean any building that has existed on the site since prior to urban renewal, or for at least 50 years; or that contributes to the unique neighborhood character of the place in which it is located and contributes to the vision for revitalized business districts through providing an opportunity for business development at the site and wealth creation in the neighborhood. Such buildings may or may not be listed on or determined to be eligible for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places (S/NRHP).
  • Owners must maintain properties after stabilization. Property owners receiving assistance to stabilize their buildings under the Fund must file/record a “Property Maintenance Declaration” with the Erie County Clerk, stating that the subject property received assistance under the Fund, and that they will maintain the property in a manner consistent with the Fund objectives for a minimum of five years from date of completion of the stabilization project.  In the event of non-compliance, the amount of grant funds will be subject to repayment in accordance with a simple annual declining balance, based on the five-year enforcement period.

Fund Activities and Use of Funding

Through the program, property owners will be eligible for up to $50,000 per building, unless otherwise approved by ESD, for stabilization-related activities.  ESD will not require that property owners contribute matching funds in order to receive grant funding; however, funds will only be distributed upon completion of stabilization work conducted under this grant.

Funds must be used for stabilization of commercial or mixed-use buildings.  For purposes of this program, “stabilization” refers to undertaking preventative repairs that correct structural deficiencies or code violations, which if not corrected, could lead to loss of the building through collapse or demolition.

Fund must be used for capital purposes, including work pertaining to code violations.  Costs for stabilization projects completed on a property prior to the property being accepted into this program will not be eligible for reimbursement.

Funds may not be used for: stabilization of residential properties; buildings currently being used for religious purposes; improvements to structures owned by religious or private membership-based organizations (e.g., not including former buildings of this type owned by non-sectarian entities); and activities that have occurred prior to the start of the grant period cannot be funded through this program.

Properties listed for sale or with the intent to sell can be eligible for the program, however, grant funds will be subject to pro rata recapture if property is sold within five years of disbursement of funds unless the transaction is approved by ESD.

Owners with housing court violations are eligible to apply for program.  However, all back taxes must be paid prior to receiving funds, and funds cannot be used to pay taxes.

Grants will be provided for 6 months and no longer than 12 months. Extensions on awards will be considered on a case-by-case basis provided substantial progress has been made on the project in the initial 12-month period.

Review Criteria

Submitted project applications will be reviewed and prioritized based on:

  • Property location
  • National Register eligibility
  • Likelihood of future redevelopment
  • Urgency of stabilization measures
  • Impact on the neighborhood
  • Community support
  • Applicant’s residency
  • Applicant’s development experience
  • Preservation Easement: Building owners who are willing to enter into a 10-year preservation easement on the property with Preservation Buffalo Niagara will be given preference.

How to Apply

Full Program Guidelines and Map

Frequently Asked Questions

Applications must be postmarked or received by Friday, January 15, 2021 at 4:00pm ET.

All applicants must participate in a two-step application process.

Step 1: Contact Bridge Rauch at Preservation Buffalo Niagara to discuss your project and receive guidance on completing an application:

Bridge Rauch
Field Services Coordinator
Preservation Buffalo Niagara
brauch@pbnsaves.org
(716) 852-3300
617 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14203

Step 2: Complete an application.

A fillable PDF application can be downloaded here. Completed applications and all required attachments can be returned by:

Mail:

Bridge Rauch
Field Services Coordinator
Preservation Buffalo Niagara
617 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14203

OR

Email: brauch@pbnsaves.org

*The grant award is from the East Side Collaborative Fund which is administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The pooled fund was created through a unique partnership of private and philanthropic organizations to complement capital funding that is being awarded by Empire State Development (ESD) as part of its $65 million East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund (ESCEDF), which is part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion II initiative.

About East Side Avenues

East Side Avenues is a capacity building initiative developed to fund, plan and coordinate revitalization strategies and initiatives aimed at improving economic conditions in four main commercial corridors on Buffalo’s East Side. It is backed by a unique partnership of private and philanthropic organizations that created the pooled, $8 million East Side Collaborative Fund administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The grants and supports are being provided to complement capital funding that is being awarded by Empire State Development (ESD) as part of its $65 million East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund (ESCEDF), which is part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion II initiative.

East Side Avenues stemmed from UB Regional Institute’s (UBRI) partnership with ESD and The City of Buffalo to reach out to community members, to listen, analyze past investments and create a comprehensive plan focused on what key stakeholders said they’d like to see happen and what projects they believe are important for promoting economic activity.

East Side Avenues is being led by a Project Implementation Team (PIT) from UBRI that will work to build organizational capacity by ensuring appropriate supports such as infrastructure, staff and funding are in place; assisting with strategic planning, program design and problem solving; reporting on progress and ensuring responsible use of resources. UBRI is the research enterprise of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. Learn more about East Side Avenues at www.eastsideavenues.org/.

About Empire State Development
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

Save Willert Park Courts/AD Price Courts

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Preservation Buffalo Niagara has been working hard with our community partners, including the Michigan Street Preservation Corporation, for nearly a decade to preserve this important part of Buffalo’s past. It has been announced that Willert Park/AD Price Courts will be receiving Docomomo US 2020 Modernism in American Advocacy Award

We are thrilled to share this news, Docomomo’s press release and our press release.

1. Send an email to the BMHA

2. Become a member of PBN to ensure we have the resources necessary to fight this fight!

3. Share photos or memories of Willert Park/A.D. Price Courts – are you a former resident? Contact Tabitha to share your story and make it part of our research and archives.

 

 

 

To read more about
Preservation Buffalo Niagara’s advocacy
for Willert Park/AD Price Courts click here.

Click here to read the letter from the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH)
opposing the proposed demolition of the Willert Park Courts / Alfred D. Price Courts, Buffalo, NY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Status of the buildings inventoried in 1996

The 1850 Project

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In 1996, titans of Buffalo’s preservation community, including John Conlin, Edward J. Patton, and Paul Redding, were commissioned by then Common Council President George K. Arthur to identify structures in the City of Buffalo built prior to 1860. The resulting list included approximately 215 buildings, with the oldest from 1818. PBN recently acquired this 25-year-old survey and has found that nearly 30% of the structures then identified have been lost in the intervening years. Of the remaining structures, over 80% have no formal historic designation or protection.

Current Status of the buildings inventoried in 1996

CALL TO ACTION

Are you looking for a way to support preservation even while social distancing? Now’s your chance to join The 1850 Project and help us research these buildings and put proper preservation protections in place!

HOW TO VOLUNTEER

Step 1: Fill out the form below.

Step 2: PBN staff will be in contact with all the virtual training you need to conduct and document your research from the comfort of your home.

Step 3: Go forth and research! PBN staff will be in regular contact to see how it’s going and answer any questions you might have.

Step 4: Submit your research to PBN staff for review and instructions on how to help transform your research into a landmark nomination or an eligibility review for the National Register of Historic Places.

Step 5: Revel in the satisfaction of knowing you helped protect and preserve these
irreplaceable resources. And then maybe
get started on a second property!

 

 

 

 

Historic Home Loan Fund

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The Historic Home Loan Fund (HHLF) was established in 2019 to enhance PBN’s mission of historic preservation by providing financing for the preservation, improvement, restoration, and/or rehabilitation of locally designated homes in the City of Buffalo to low income homeowners. In addition to providing needed capital, the HHLF provides technical assistance to low income property owners in local historic districts.

This program has been made possible with the support of the 1772 Foundation, the Estate of Paul Maine, and an anonymous donor. If you would like to help support this program through a gift, please contact PBN.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and initial applicants will be contacted by starting June 1, 2020 with funding decisions after review by PBN staff and the HHLF Committee. Applicants are strongly urged to review the program guidelines and to consult with PBN staff before submitting an application form. Income Guidelines

1 Person Family 2 Person Family 3 Person Family 4 Person Family 5 Person Family 6 Person Family 7 Person Family 8 Person Family
$48,294 $55,194 $62,093 $68,902 $74,458 $80,013 $85,478 $91,034

To receive an application to the HHLF, please fill out the request form below. Once received, PBN staff will review and contact you with the next steps in the application process.

Application Requests will be available in Spring 2020.

Please fill out the below form for more information.