The planned new Western New York Workforce Training Center now under construction in the Northland Corridor will receive $14 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits to support the overall redevelopment project on Buffalo's East Side.
The 92,000-square-foot facility, funded largely through the state's Buffalo billion, will house administrative space, five classrooms and seven industrial shops or labs to train local residents and workers in the higher-technology skills needed to compete for jobs in advanced manufacturing.
The training center will be housed alongside Buffalo Manufacturing Works and other tenants inside a larger 235,000-square-foot former manufacturing complex for Niagara Machine & Tool Works at 683 Northland Ave., in the heart of a 35-acre light-industrial economic development hub.
The center, which will serve as an anchor for the larger $52 million redevelopment in order to attract other manufacturing companies to the renovated buildings and other properties, is designed to train 300 workers every year for future jobs. Up to 20 low-income residents will be accepted into the Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program.
It's also expected to create an estimated 329 union construction jobs and another 69 new positions, while retaining 124 permanent jobs in management, counseling, administration, faculty, building operations, maintenance and security.
“The investment in workforce development in Buffalo's East Side will ensure equal opportunity for all residents," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a press release. "It also affirms our commitment to building a world-class workforce, ready for the jobs we are creating today and in the future, and we are grateful to Building America for sharing our vision.”
Building America, a wholly owned affiliate of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, invested in about $9 million of the New Markets credits, while the National Trust Community Investment Corporation purchased the other $5 million.
“The Northland Workforce Training Center promises quality education, quality jobs and quality service to the city’s workforce,” said Jack Quinn, vice chairman of the Housing Investment Trust, who formerly served as a congressman from Western New York from 1993-2005 and then as president of Erie Community College from 2008-2017. “Building America is a natural partner on this project given its commitment to bringing jobs and services to severely distressed communities.”
Besides the New Markets credits, the project is also expected to receive $20 million in state and federal historic tax credits, $21.7 million in brownfield tax credits, a bank loan, and a variety of other state, city or other grants. Citi Community Capital, part of Citigroup, is also investing in the project.