Demolition work is expected to begin next month on some of the old industrial buildings that currently occupy much of the property earmarked to become part of a Buffalo Billion project aimed at creating a neighborhood development fund along Northland Avenue.
The demolition work is part of efforts by the state and the city to breathe new life into a once-heavily industrialized East Side neighborhood through the creation of a workforce training center, along with other facilities and services aimed at attracting new businesses to the complex and providing resources to help community-based businesses grow and develop.
"We're very much looking forward to the work getting underway," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
"It's part of our vision for the Delavan-Grider neighborhood," Brown said. "We know this is going to have a significant impact."
The Buffalo Urban Development Corp., which has been coordinating the project, is expected to select a demolition contractor for Houdaille Industries building at 537 E. Delavan, 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 about two-thirds of the building space, including the site's main structure, will be demolished, said Peter Cammarata, the development agency's president.
Brown said the site, along with other nearby parcels that make up the Northland Avenue complex, could have the potential for use by light industrial firms, as well as advanced manufacturers and green technology companies. The complex also will include space that could be used by neighborhood entrepreneurs.
"We want this to be an area that offers support for neighborhood businesses," Brown said.
The East Delavan building is part of a broader complex that includes a training center that is expected to open next June at 683 Northland Ave. will be the anchor for the 35-acre parcel of industrial land that the state is aiming to create a hub for workforce development and other activity on the East Side. Construction on the worker training center is expected to begin this summer, Cammarata said.
The $20 million training center will occupy about 100,000 square feet in the front of the building at 683 Northland that previously was the site of Clearing Niagara. The training center, aimed at building a cadre of workers with skills that are in demand by local manufacturers and other employers, is part of a larger $48 million light industrial economic development zone that is being created as part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative.
The state last month selected a consortium of four local non-profit organizations to operate the worker training center and develop ancillary programs and services that state officials believe are essential for allowing a wide range of residents to participate in the hub's training initiatives. Those services include access to child care, transportation and training for the training program's required testing.
"This will be a full-service training center, but it also will have a great ability to be an incubator for neighborhood businesses," Cammarata said.
The Northland complex is being funded with $29 million from Empire State Development, along with $15 million from the New York Power Authority and $4 million from the City of Buffalo.