Five hundred acres of industrial land is now available to attract businesses to Buffalo, and the agency that markets the region wants to get the word out.
The land is in 12 parcels, much of it ready for immediate development, with various incentives available.
Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park contains most of the land immediately ready, with 210 acres of land available. Cobey Inc., a specialty piping systems manufacturer, bought land in the commerce park and built a plant late last year. The company is bringing 75 jobs to the area.
Cobey joined CertainTeed, a subsidiary company of St. Gobain, which manufactures building products like plastic fencing, at Lakeside Commerce Park.
Land is also ready to be developed at the former Republic Steel mill. Recently, Hydro-Air Components, a company specializing in heating and cooling products, completed construction of buildings on 30 acres of land at the site.
An inventory of the available land was completed as part of the annual report of the Buffalo Urban Development Corp. (BUDC) released Monday. The sites were identified in conjunction with the City of Buffalo's Office of Strategic Planning, National Grid, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, Erie County and the Empire State Development Corp.
No matter what industry, the available land is ideal for smaller to midsize companies, said Tom Kucharski, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise.
"Literally, if land isn't shovel ready, with a variety of land parcel sizes, then as a region we can't compete with attracting new businesses and retaining old ones, considering the speed business is carried out now," Kucharski said.
Of the 500 acres available for development, between 200 and 250 acres are "shovel-ready." The remaining land needs further work or investigation.
"Some of the remaining land that can be developed needs to have existing buildings demolished. Other sites need to undergo environmental investigation since they are former industrial site locations. However, most of the work that needs to be done is just demolition," said David Stebbins, vice president of BUDC.
"Within the next two years, a majority of the sites can be moved forward and developed," he said.
Money from a $5 million state grant was used to buy 131 acres extending to the northern boundary of the Lakeside Commerce Park to Tifft Street. The remainder of the money will be used to extend the Ship Canal Parkway, for access to the site.
"For businesses, the appeal of the land is first. It is available in Buffalo. There is an existing infrastructure with natural assets, like the availability of water transport," Stebbins said.
Additionally, state programs are available for businesses to take advantage of for developing the available land. These state programs, like the Empire Zone program and Brownfield Cleanup, give incentives for development, including grant funding and tax credits.
"Businesses moving to and developing the available land parcels in the city makes regional sense," Stebbins said.