The Buffalo Urban Development Corp., the city agency that is overseeing redevelopment of the Northland Avenue Belt Line Corridor into a new light industrial economic development hub, plans to seek out an architectural and engineering team to renovate the surviving industrial buildings on the sprawling site and design a proposed new workforce training center that is part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative.
BUDC, using $6.7 million from the state, last year purchased a dozen properties in a 50-acre area of the East Side, with about 700,000 square feet of space in existing but aging facilities. Based on subsequent environmental, engineering and market studies, the agency has decided to retain and renovate the buildings at 631, 683 and 741 Northland Ave., while demolishing all or part of other properties, including 777 Northland and 537 E. Delavan Ave.
If the BUDC board approves next Tuesday, agency officials now plan to issue a “request for qualifications” to identify a team that is capable of doing the design work, construction documents and cost estimates for the proposed work. Responses are due back by Feb. 17. Three to five teams will be selected for interviews and evaluation by a selection committee, based on specific criteria.
Several of the buildings that will be kept will be subdivided to create multi-tenant light industrial facilities. That includes 683 Northland, which has been empty for 25 years but will now include the WNY Workforce Training Center in about 100,000 square feet. The new center will include both an Advanced Manufacturing Training Center and a Utility of the Future & Clean Energy Training Center, with both slated to open in mid-2017 and training provided by local educational institutions. The proposal for the Workforce Training Center will be considered by the Buffalo Planning Board Monday afternoon.
The rest of the complex will be used for a mixture of commercial and industrial purposes. Work will include renovations, demolition, stabilization and site preparation work at each property, as well as asbestos and environmental cleanup where needed.
• 683 Northland, a 7.3-acre parcel with 235,000 square feet of building space, was built between 1910 and 1981. Besides the Workforce Training Center, the building will be prepared for general light industrial and small-business leasing, and has been designated as the top priority for redevelopment.
• 537 East Delavan is a 10.5-acre parcel with 300,000 square feet of space, built between 1927 and 1944. The property will be cleaned up under the state Superfund program, and the main building will be demolished. Several smaller buildings will be kept and stabilized for reuse.
• 631 Northland, a 3.9-acre parcel with almost 42,000 square feet of space, was built in 1953, and will be renovated for reuse as a light industrial rental property.
• 741 Northland, a 4.9-acre parcel with 96,000 square feet, was built in 1930, and will be kept and renovated as a light industrial rental property. It shares a common wall with 777 Northland, an 81,000-square-foot building on 5 acres that was built in 1948 but will be demolished.
• 577 Northland has two small buildings on less than one acre. Plans call for cleaning, demolishing and clearing the site.
The remaining properties – at 644, 664, 688, 690 and 767 Northland and 126 and 128 Dutton St., total about 4 acres, and will be set aside as vacant land for future use or surface parking.