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City to buy former Republic Steel brownfields site
$4.6 million price tag OK’d for 185 acres
By Stephen T. Watson NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Updated: 11/10/07 7:57 AM

The City of Buffalo plans to spend $4.6 million to buy a formerly contaminated industrial property in South Buffalo and is trying to attract commercial investment to the site, city officials announced Friday.

The city is buying the 185-acre former Republic Steel property from Steelfields, the partnership that has spent $19 million over the past five years cleaning the brownfield site.

Mayor Byron W. Brown, other city officials and Steelfields representatives said acquiring the site will boost the city’s economic development efforts.

“It opens the way for greater private- sector investment and job creation in the City of Buffalo,” Brown said.

The Steelfields site that the city plans to acquire was an inactive hazardous- waste site used previously by Republic Steel and Donner-Hanna Coke.

The property is about the size of an 18-hole golf course and is bordered by South Park Avenue and the Buffalo River.

It sits next to Hickory Woods, the contaminated subdivision whose residents have fought for years to win a buyout plan to allow them to move.

Steelfields is a partnership of developers who conducted one of the most extensive local brownfield cleanups after taking over the former Republic Steel property.

The roughly $19 million spent on the cleanup was to come from insurers for previous owners LTV Steel and Hanna Furnace.

Steelfields followed state Department of Environmental Conservation guidelines in cleaning the site, officials said, but the company is awaiting final approval from the agency.

“This has been the largest volunteer cleanup project ever undertaken in New York State,” said Gary Smith, a Steelfields principal. “But this is just the beginning for this site.”

A growing number of companies have moved into industrial parks in Buffalo or expressed interest in doing so, Brown said, so this purchase fills a need for such space in the city.

“There has been a tremendous sense of urgency to set up shovelready sites,” Brown said.

HydroAir Components already has opened an $8.5 million manufacturing facility on a 31-acre parcel adjacent to the 185 acres that the city plans to buy.

HydroAir employs 114 workers at the site and has plans to add 200 jobs, according to the city.

Another industrial park, the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park, is located just southwest of the Steelfields property in the old Union Ship Canal area.

The companies Cobey, CertainTeed, Sonwil Industries and Philips & Burns have invested or plan to invest about $39 million in the Lakeside park, according to city figures.

Friday, Brown and Smith signed an agreement stating the city’s intention to buy the Steelfields property. Infrastructure such as sewer and water connections would be built to suit the needs of future tenants.

The purchase still must be approved by the Common Council and the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority.

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CITY OF BUFFALO
Project tackles housing woes block at a time
By Harold McNeil NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Updated: 11/10/07 7:57 AM

State and city housing officials are seeking to restore some of Buffalo’s blighted neighborhoods a block at a time.

Officials announced Thursday that the New York State Housing Corp. will commit $3 million to the city for a pilot program that offers partial funding to nonprofit groups to either renovate housing or create more green spaces. The groups would focus on one block before moving to the next.

“We believe that this approach advances [Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer’s] goal of rebuilding the upstate economy and neighborhoods throughout Western New York,” said Priscilla Almodovar, president of New York State Affordable Housing Corp.

Almodovar joined Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo, and Richard Tobe, the city’s commissioner of economic development, inspections and permits, for a news conference held in a vacant lot at Brayton and West Utica streets.

One block in that neighborhood, just west of Richmond Avenue, will be the first area to be targeted in the program, dubbed “Block-by-Block.”

Almodovar said the program’s framework came from neighborhood residents and members of nonprofit neighborhood groups.

Among them is Aaron Bartley’s group, People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH), a nonprofit agency on Buffalo’s West Side seeking solutions to the city’s abandoned housing crisis.

“This [initiative] came out of a yearlong effort that was focused on abandoned houses that the state controlled and was neglecting,” Bartley said.

However, when Spitzer’s housing staffers also began looking for answers, Bartley said, they approached PUSH and other community groups for insight.

“It was determined that the single-most important concept in overcoming our crisis is concentrating resources in a strategic way,” Bartley said.

What evolved, he said, is a concept that forces nonprofit applicants to come up with a plan that concentrates their resources in a way that leads to a larger impact.

Rehabilitating derelict properties on one block ultimately will lead to the stabilization of adjacent blocks.

The grants will be limited to no more than 60 percent of the cost of renovating a house or building.

Hoyt said the program would be a complement to another program, Restore New York, which provides funding to stem the tide of abandoned housing. Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown estimates about 10,000 abandoned structures in the city need to be demolished.

“But this program, Block-by-Block, is a great concept about building up communities,” Hoyt said.

“Buffalo, in so many ways, can be the laboratory exploring new approaches to solving difficult problems, and then we can take these pilot projects and apply them in Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany and Jamestown and Utica, all the other upstate cities that are struggling,” he added.

Tobe said initiatives for rehabilitations and mass demolitions will be coordinated through the city’s Office of Strategic Planning, the New York Affordable Housing Corp. and the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

“We’ve seen a great deal of investment in parts of the city, certainly in downtown. It’s lagging in some of the neighborhoods, and this is a serious step to help with the neighborhoods, also,” Tobe added.

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Quickly revised list, numbers may not add up since I deleted a few projects that appear to have stalled.
:eek:hno:Why are projects such as the Ansonia Center listed. I did some audit work on that project when it was completed... IN THE 1980's And for crying out loud the Marine Dive apartments are from the 1940's

I think a list of Buffalo development projects should be at least limited to projects from THIS CENTURY!!!!

On the other hand you should add the Waterfront Place condos or Seneca Hotel which I did not see on the list.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
:eek:hno:Why are projects such as the Ansonia Center listed. I did some audit work on that project when it was completed... IN THE 1980's And for crying out loud the Marine Dive apartments are from the 1940's

I think a list of Buffalo development projects should be at least limited to projects from THIS CENTURY!!!!

On the other hand you should add the Waterfront Place condos or Seneca Hotel which I did not see on the list.
The list of residential is downtown residential- new and old and doesn't include Waterfront Village. Make your own list if you have something better numbnuts. :eek:hno:
 

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Ansonia is actually being renovated from what I heard.

It is odd all the complaining about the lack of development posts and development lists from people who never post any such news themselves.
 

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Should we really include the Marine Drive Apartments in downtown's list?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that they don't add much to downtown's vitality.
 

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It is odd all the complaining about the lack of development posts and development lists from people who never post any such news themselves.
If people don't have something worthwhile to say then it is infinitely better if they post nothing at all than to post the crap we've seen over the past 3 pages of this thread.

This is a development thread. If there is no development news or directly related conversation then I'd rather see this thread have zero new posts than have to read about how much tax someone is paying in East Bumblefuck, GA... or rants about how much one poster doesn't like another poster.

We went through all this before about a year ago, and the result was a new thread for NON-development posts. If anyone wants to talk crap or start another ****-fight then post it there and leave this thread out of it.
 

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I spent a few years in my youth a block away from this rehab (on the East Side). I am very excited to see this corner being cleaned up. Its like a mini-gateway (think small Genny Block).
I'm guessing that's the building on the Northwest corner. I drive by that intersection often and can see there is (or was) some nice detail in the original building but it's hidden by really bad paneling. Hopefully it's still all there underneath and wasn't destroyed.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I'm guessing that's the building on the Northwest corner. I drive by that intersection often and can see there is (or was) some nice detail in the original building but it's hidden by really bad paneling. Hopefully it's still all there underneath and wasn't destroyed.
There's pictures of the HOME site on Buffalo Rising.

Three proposals in for the Shanghai Reds property in Waterfront Village- one for a relatively small office building, two for mixed-use. Ciminelli is one of the developers interested with a plan for office, retail and hotel. :cheers:

http://buffalo.bizjournals.com/buffalo/stories/2007/11/12/daily25.html?jst=b_ln_hl
 

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The City is thinking real small with these Erie Basin parcels. They really need to go in an replan the whole thing and take into account the massive parking areas. They should laugh that guy out of the room with the 2 story building plan. I wonder if they even have any guidelines for water edge treatment and access.

And get rid of that stupid covenant.

As far as hotel space Buffalo must be due for a real wave of new travel since every project proposed has a new hotel component. Looks like DT might be able to live his dream of being a bell hop in Buffalo after all.
 

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The City is thinking real small with these Erie Basin parcels. They really need to go in an replan the whole thing and take into account the massive parking areas. They should laugh that guy out of the room with the 2 story building plan. I wonder if they even have any guidelines for water edge treatment and access.

And get rid of that stupid covenant.

As far as hotel space Buffalo must be due for a real wave of new travel since every project proposed has a new hotel component. Looks like DT might be able to live his dream of being a bell hop in Buffalo after all.
I could not have said this better myself (crack on DT included). Those proposals seem weak.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The City is thinking real small with these Erie Basin parcels. They really need to go in an replan the whole thing and take into account the massive parking areas. They should laugh that guy out of the room with the 2 story building plan. I wonder if they even have any guidelines for water edge treatment and access.

And get rid of that stupid covenant.

As far as hotel space Buffalo must be due for a real wave of new travel since every project proposed has a new hotel component. Looks like DT might be able to live his dream of being a bell hop in Buffalo after all.

I wonder how much it has to do with hotels being easier to finance. Though hotel occupancy in the region has been stable/slightly increasing.
 
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