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Editorial: Latest boost for the Northland Corridor is a new shot of economic opportunity

For those living on Buffalo’s East Side, new hope for job training and – eventually – jobs springs in the form of the Northland Corridor project, a multimillion-dollar workforce development effort funded largely by the governor’s Buffalo Billion program and city funds.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced in his State of the State speech that Buffalo Manufacturing Works would relocate to the Northland Corridor complex, which was already due to become the home of a worker training center under the first pot of Buffalo Billion funding. Adding to the anticipation is $60 million for East Side revitalization projects in this second phase of the Buffalo Billion.
As Mayor Byron W. Brown said, relocating the advanced manufacturing center to Northland will add more training opportunities to help the unemployed prepare for good jobs while creating more job opportunities for those in the city and throughout the region.

Toward that end, demolition work will begin next month on some of the old industrial buildings sitting on much of the Northland property, eventually turning a one-time heavily industrialized East Side neighborhood into a community-based business hub.

Much of the Houdaille Industries building at 537 E. Delavan is expected to be demolished. It sits on a 10.5-acre parcel with 300,000 square feet of space, built between 1927 and 1944. State Superfund project money will be used to clean the property, which could become the home for light industry, advanced manufacturing or green technology.

A $20 million training center is expected to open in June at 683 Northland Ave. on another piece of the 35-acre Northland site. The facility will provide workers with the skills in demand by local employers.

The mayor and the Buffalo Billion have been criticized for not focusing enough attention on the East Side. Brown said the Northland complex is just one of several initiatives on the East Side, totaling more than $400 million.

The Northland Corridor project has the potential to be a huge boost for a neighborhood badly in need of jobs and opportunities.

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