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Northland Corridor targeted for StartUp NY status

Portions of the Northland Beltline Corridor campus on Buffalo's East Side may qualify for StartUp NY under agreements with three local colleges, enabling new tenants in the commercial and industrial hub to receive the state program's special tax benefits.

The Buffalo Urban Development Corp. – which owns and manages the Northland project as an economic development zone – is working with officials from University at Buffalo, SUNY Buffalo State and Erie Community College to designate spaces within the 35-acre campus as StartUp NY properties.

The goal of the effort is to make the buildings more desirable for potential tenants, so that it's easier to market and lease the properties, which include several hundred thousand square feet of existing space, plus vacant land, officials said this week.

Companies that locate on eligible university or college campuses – or on nearby properties specifically identified by those schools – can operate virtually tax free for 10 years, but must create new jobs and collaborate with the school.

The state program is designed to attract high-tech and other startup companies from around the world, or expanding businesses and venture capital, to invest and locate in New York through partnerships with higher education institutions.

The discussions with BUDC were initiated at UB's request, but the area's biggest academic institution also is helping ECC and Buffalo State to set aside portions of Northland for themselves, using the same "affiliation agreements" as UB. There's no cost to BUDC, nor does it have to reserve any space specifically for StartUp NY.

So far, BUDC and UB are designating 40,843 square feet at 631 Northland Ave. and 80,256 square feet at 683 Northland as qualifying locations. That includes five spaces on the first floor of 631 Northland and 31 on the four floors of 683 Northland.

The smaller site will be considered "on campus," while the larger building is "off campus."

The Northland campus is being redeveloped by BUDC, with $100 million in government funding, to encourage job growth and investment in an otherwise impoverished part of the city with a long history of industrial activity. The project is anchored by the new Workforce Training Center that recently opened in 100,000 square feet at 683 Northland, with classes now in session. It also will include Buffalo Manufacturing Works, Project Rainfall and other ventures, and is now being marketed for lease by Mancuso Business Development.

Separately, BUDC's board on Tuesday voted to accept and reallocate $210,000 in shared savings from the first phase of work at Northland under its contract with Gilbane Building Co. The savings will be used for other expenses, including additional costs for temporary weather protection because of delays in delivering and installing a roof-top glazing, as well as costs for plumbing, HVAC, building management systems and other factors.

Work on the first phase of the project, including the Workforce Training Center, is expected to wrap up by year-end. Work on the second phase is underway, including replacement of the roof deck, remediation and additional demolition.

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