Gov. Cuomo designates four new Brownfield Opportunity Areas in Buffalo

December 05, 2017 - Upstate New York

Buffaflo, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo designated four new Brownfield Opportunity Areas, all located in the city. The designations help communities implement strategies to revitalize neighborhoods affected by dormant and blighted brownfield properties and rebuild areas to create a vibrant economy and support progress and growth. These new designations bring the total number of designated Brownfield Opportunity Areas in the state to 44. 

“These designations will equip Buffalo officials with tools and resources needed to carry out their vision of community revitalization and help turn these blighted properties back into economic engines,” governor Cuomo said. “This is one more reason why Buffalo remains a city on the move.”

The Brownfield Opportunity Area Program is administered by the New York Department of State. The program offers communities funding to develop revitalization strategies to promote sound redevelopment and enhanced environmental quality within areas affected by the presence of brownfields.

Prior to submitting these four areas for Brownfield Opportunity Area designation, the city of Buffalo received planning grants through the Department of State BOA Program to complete revitalization strategies for the neighborhoods. Secretary of State Rossana Rosado accepted the nominations for these Brownfield Opportunity Areas and determined they meet the necessary requirements and criteria for designation.

Developers, property owners and others with projects and properties located within the designated Brownfield Opportunity Areas will be eligible to access additional Brownfield Cleanup Program tax incentives to develop projects aimed at transforming dormant and blighted areas in their communities and putting them back into productive use. In addition, projects within each designated Brownfield Opportunity Area will be entitled to receive priority and preference for certain State grants.

The four new designated Brownfield Opportunity Areas in the city are:

• South Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Area

The South Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Area consists of 1,968 acres located in an area that was once heavily industrialized by the steel industry along the south side of the Buffalo River to Lake Erie. The area is characterized by 86 brownfield and vacant sites. The primary community revitalization objective is to return brownfields and underutilized prime waterfront sites to productive economic use. Key recommendations and projects include: implementation of the Hopkins Street Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy; strategic redevelopment of the 260 acre RiverBend site utilizing the Buffalo Green Code; repurposing a former landfill as a golf course and community center; expansion of Tifft Nature Preserve; and improved connections between the neighborhoods and the waterfront.  A $1,458,000 Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grant financed planning activities and project development for the area. 

• Buffalo Harbor Brownfield Opportunity Area

The Buffalo Harbor Brownfield Opportunity Area consists of a 1,045-acre area with six brownfield sites totaling approximately 249 acres. The area includes frontage on both the Inner Harbor and Outer Harbor, and contains a mix of historic maritime, industrial, and residential development. The primary community revitalization objectives to be achieved by this project include: promoting infill and mixed-use development in the Inner Harbor; converting the majority of the formerly industrial Outer Harbor to open space that provides public access to the waterfront, while maintaining and growing commercial and industrial uses in several key areas; and strengthening and reconnecting neighborhoods to each other and to the waterfront through traffic calming measures, street realignments, improved transportation options, and other infrastructure enhancements. Planning activities for the area were financed by $540,000 in Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grants. 

• Buffalo River Corridor Brownfield Opportunity Area

The Buffalo River Brownfield Opportunity Area consists of a 1,050-acre area in the Old First Ward section of the city along the river, which is characterized by 58 potential brownfield sites. Primary community revitalization objectives include: restoration and enhancement of the environmental quality of the river, enhancement of waterfront access, promotion of quality placemaking, and safeguarding the river as a working waterfront that balances the needs of existing uses with emerging interests. A $472,500 Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grant financed planning activities for the area. 

• Tonawanda St. Corridor Brownfield Opportunity Area

The Tonawanda St. Corridor Brownfield Opportunity Area consists of a 650-acre area in the city. The area contains 46 potential brownfield sites. Primary community revitalization objectives include: restoring environmental quality, reconstruction of the Scajaquada Expressway, restoration of Scajaquada Creek, implementation of multi-modal transportation improvements in the BOA and promote adaptive reuse. A $382,500 Brownfield Opportunity Area Program grant financed planning activities for the area.

New York secretary of state Rossana Rosado said, “I am excited to designate these four new Brownfield Opportunity Areas today in Buffalo. The strategic plans developed with BOA funding for the four areas contributed to the Buffalo Green Code, which will support the redevelopment envisioned in the plans. Designation of these four BOAs makes available additional tools to support revitalization of the city’s waterfront as an economic engine for the city and the region, fulfilling governor Cuomo’s vision for Buffalo’s incredible renaissance.” 

Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The cleanup and restoration of brownfield properties in this community is critical to safeguarding public health, protecting the environment, and developing community assets. By designating four new Brownfield Opportunity Areas in Erie County today, governor Cuomo is giving these Buffalo communities the power to reenergize their economies and improve quality of life for local residents.”

Senator Tim Kennedy said, “These four new Brownfield sites will further fuel the transformation and revitalization of these neighborhoods, and better connect Western New Yorkers with our region’s most precious resource: our waterways. Thank you to governor Cuomo and New York State for investing in these visions, and working to restore these communities to their fullest potential.”

Senator Chris Jacobssaid, “Strategies and resources associated with Brownfield Opportunity Areas have been critical to the successful redevelopment of significant portions of the city of Buffalo. I am very pleased that four new areas in the city are being designated today, and I am confident that these designations will result in the kind of investment and growth that will continue driving our region’s renaissance into the future.” 

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, said “I’d like to thank governor Cuomo and DEC for approving four more sites for Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) in the city of Buffalo. The BOA Program has been extremely helpful here in Western New York for redeveloping parcels of land that were contaminated after historically being used for heavy industry. It gives our communities a second chance to flourish and diversify.”

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, “The Brownfield Opportunity Area program is one of New York State’s most successful economic development initiatives. Investing in environmental remediation prepares our communities for revitalization and renewed economic activity. The four new Brownfield Opportunity Areas in the city of Buffalo will allow for continued momentum as we work toward creating the new Buffalo. Contaminated sites along our waterfront have made progress difficult over the years. With these four new areas, New York State is making a critically important investment in the future of our waterfront, and Scajaquada Creek. I thank mayor Brown and governor Cuomo for working to make these new designations a reality.”

City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “The Brownfield Opportunity Areas are a central component of our city’s Green Code initiative and my Administration’s place-based economic development strategy. The state’s approval of the BOA’s, created by the city of Buffalo with significant public input, places Buffalo at the forefront of brownfield redevelopment nationally and will further enhance Buffalo’s ability to compete for investment, bringing new life to even more neighborhoods by making use of underutilized properties that create jobs for city residents.”



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