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Seven downtown improvement projects to share Better Buffalo Fund grant money

Seven downtown improvement projects to share Better Buffalo Fund grant money

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Buffalo Skyline from Edward Street

A view of downtown Buffalo looking south from Edward Street.

The owners of seven buildings along lower Main Street in downtown Buffalo will share $245,000 in grants to improve their facades and make internal upgrades.

Buffalo Place, the nonprofit organization that runs the downtown business improvement district, awarded the funds through the Buffalo Main Street program for enhancements ranging from building repairs and exterior lighting to elevators and renovations.

The money is part of a $300,000 grant that Buffalo Place received last year through the Better Buffalo Fund, part of the state's Buffalo Billion initiative. It's focused on a limited target area stretching from Seneca to Mohawk streets, covering an area where the city's effort to return car traffic to Main has not yet been reached.

The grants include:

  • $50,000 for Merchants Mutual Insurance Co.'s headquarters at 250 Main. The company will repair and re-roof the metal canopies along Main, install new sidewalk lighting in an area that tends to be dark, light up the Main Street side of the building to showcase its midcentury modern facade, and repair the stucco facades on the south and east sides that endure heavy winds.
  • $50,000 for the Brisbane Building at 403 Main. Hunt Real Estate Corp., which owns the building, will repair and clean the historic bronze facade features and bronze elevator doors inside, while renovating the former visitors' center at the corner of Washington Street into a community art gallery and the vacant basement into space for artists.
  • $50,000 for the Hilton Garden Inn at 10 Lafayette Square. Hamister Group plans to update the first-floor dining area of the hotel into stand-alone tenant space, with an entrance off Main, while also adding a unisex bathroom and kitchen equipment.
  • $30,000 for Ellicott Development's Mohawk Building – formerly the Hens & Kelly Building – at 478 Main, to reglaze the transom windows on floors three through six that are now filled with metal panels, while also refinishing the original hardwood floors on the sixth level and installing new mechanical systems for the building's 15 new apartments.
  • $25,000 for the Ellicott Square Building, where Ellicott Development will install exterior architectural lighting on the historic building.
  • $20,000 for the Swan Tower at 290 Main, to install exterior architectural lighting to illuminate the building and make repairs to the brick on the south side where the wind hits the building.
  • $20,000 for the New Wave Energy Building at 410 Main, which is getting a new facade to replace the 1970s-era paneling. The building owner will also make improvements to the main elevator, install a new elevator car in a second shaft that is currently vacant, and build out the vacant second and third floors into office space.
  • The remaining $55,000 is split between $25,000 for streetscape enhancements that are still being determined, and $30,000 in administrative costs.

This is the fifth Main Street investment grant that Buffalo Place has received and administered to assist building owners in downtown Buffalo. Prior rounds in 2006, 2011, 2015 and 2018 provided $1.5 million for 38 other projects in the Theatre District, 400 and 500 blocks, and other portions of the street.

Additional funds totaling $110,354 over 15 years went to streetscape and infrastructure improvements, such as new benches, new trash receptacles and dog-waste bag dispensers, new bicycle racks, electrical upgrades, repainting and removal of sidewalk bump-outs. The 2018 round also included three Fixit bike repair stations with tire pumps, as well as one stand-alone pump.

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