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BUDC considers two Buffalo projects for low-interest loans

The city agency that oversees the Buffalo Building Reuse Project is considering extending two low-interest loans totaling $1.5 million to a pair of separate redevelopment projects by Nick Sinatra and Scott Croce.

The two projects – Sinatra's Heritage Point on the South Aud Block of Canalside and an Allentown redevelopment by Croce's LeoStrong – are each seeking $750,000 loans from the program, which is run by the Buffalo Urban Development Corp. The program is designed to support downtown developments that will reduce office vacancies, add residential units and active ground-floor retail or commercial space, while presenting adaptive or historic reuse opportunities.

Sinatra & Co. Real Estate has been selected as a designated developer by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. to construct two mixed-use buildings at Canalside with a combination of retail, restaurant, professional office and residential space. The $23.4 million project, which includes about 40 to 45 one- and two-bedroom apartments and first-floor amenities for tourists and visitors, will build off previous investments for HarborCenter, One Canalside and the Explore & More Children's Museum. About 10 percent of the apartments will be designated as "affordable."

Croce – brother of restaurant and hotel owner Mark Croce – is redeveloping the last vacant Delaware Avenue brownstone at 469-471 Delaware Ave. and 2 Virginia Place into new office space and three residential apartments. The $2.7 million project involves the renovation of a vacant four-story rowhouse on Delaware into a two-bedroom apartment and commercial space, plus two more two-bedroom apartments in the vacant structure at Virginia. It also will include an outdoor garden patio, and its location is close to public transit, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Allentown and downtown Buffalo.

The two projects will be evaluated Tuesday by the BUDC's Downtown Committee for consistency with the program standards. If approved, they would be referred to the New York Business Development Corp. for underwriting through a fund supported by several banks.

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