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Plan to turn Richmond Avenue church into arts campus gets tax breaks

A $10.8 million project to convert a vacant former Methodist church on Richmond Avenue into a performing arts campus is getting $395,600 in tax breaks through the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.

The subsidies were approved by the IDA board Wednesday for developers Rachel Ann and Ryan Heckl's project to turn the former Richmond Methodist Episcopal Church at 467 Richmond Ave. into the Rosanna Elizabeth Visual & Performing Arts Campus.

The project will convert the church and adjacent property into a campus that includes rehearsal and performance space for artists and touring groups, along with corporate and business meeting space and a recording studio. The developers also plan to build several market rate apartments on an adjoining property, but those units were not covered by the tax breaks approved by the IDA.

The church, which has been vacant for 12 years, has 36,000 square feet of space in a building that dates back to the late 1800s.

The project previously received a $1.5 million loan through the state's Better Buffalo Fund. It also is expected to receive historic tax credits and property tax breaks through a program administered by the City of Buffalo. In all, the project is expected to receive subsidies valued at more than $3.2 million.

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