Campus Square developers seek $2.1M in tax breaks - The Buffalo News
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Campus Square developers seek $2.1M in tax breaks

McGuire Development Co. and the owner of Pilgrim Village in Buffalo are hoping to get $2.1 million in sales tax breaks to support their $96 million redevelopment of the subsidized housing community into the mixed-income project to be known as Campus Square.

Mark H. Trammell and McGuire applied to the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for incentives as part of their proposal to build a six-story, mixed-use complex at 1100 Michigan Ave. and 903 Ellicott St., directly across from Gates Vascular Institute on the north side of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. That's on part of the existing 11.41-acre neighborhood that includes 90 units in 17 buildings.

No current Pilgrim Village tenants will be displaced by the project, which is aimed at providing more housing for Medical Campus workers and students, as well as residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. Plans call for 152 apartments, of which 90 will be affordable housing and 62 will be market-rate units. Five buildings with 25 units will be demolished, but another 65 units will remain, for a total of 217 units.

The project will also include 42,000 square feet of commercial space for a grocery store that will employ 30 to 40 people; a locally-owned family restaurant with 25 to 30 jobs; a dental office for the underserved area; and a coffee shop that will also serve light meals, beer and wine, with another 15-20 employees.

The Muhammad School of Music, founded by Henri L. Muhammad to teach classical music to minority youth, and Miss Barbara's School of Dance, founded by Barbara Glover to teach gymnastics and dance, will both relocate to the building. Additionally, plans include 300 garage and surface parking spaces.

Trammell and McGuire say the tax breaks are essential to making the project work, providing "some appreciated breathing room" and benefits that can be passed on to the tenants, according to their application. The total costs include $6.8 million for acquisition, $60.35 million for construction, and $28.8 million for professional services and other "soft" costs. The sales tax breaks would apply on $24 million in materials. The property is also subject to the Brownfield Cleanup Program.

A public hearing will be held March 29. Officials hope to break ground by June 15 and finish by February 2019.

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