The federal Opportunity Zone program represents one of the most comprehensive place-based economic and community development initiatives in decades. Passed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the program has the potential to unleash trillions of dollars in unrealized capital gains into underdeveloped census tracts nationwide.
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership recently unveiled its 2018 Advocacy Agenda to a capacity crowd of members and elected officials in downtown Buffalo.
This past month, Buffalo saw the approval of a number of significant development projects in its neighborhoods, including 1111 Elmwood, a mixed-use redevelopment of the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues. These projects implement the smart growth principles that our city and our region have prioritized; fostering sustainable new investment on urban sites already served by infrastructure and public services.
The Buffalo Niagara region is undergoing an economic revitalization, however the future success of new construction projects and redevelopment is not guaranteed. Disjointed development policies and overly-burdensome regulations, often unique to Buffalo and New York State, create a challenging environment for projects to move forward. To build upon our momentum and truly achieve new growth, policies impacting local development must be aligned to achieve the prosperous future envisioned for Buffalo Niagara.
Congratulations to Mayor Byron Brown, the Buffalo Common Council, the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and the entire City of Buffalo for this week’s official signing of the Green Code, Buffalo’s first comprehensive rewrite of its zoning ordinance in more than 60 years. The code represents a landmark step forward in the development and revitalization of the City, its buildings, streets and public spaces. It has been produced through a comprehensive public input process over the course of more than six years and has involved thousands of residents, businesses and key stakeholders throughout the City. The result is the establishment of a new form-based development code, the likes of which has only been established, city-wide, in two other US metros: Denver and Miami. This framework will regulate new growth focused upon achieving sustainable, mixed-use communities and appropriate neighborhood design through a more predictable development process.
Expert Forum written by: John F. Doster, AIA NCARB DBIA, Managing Principal at Architectural Resources
Currently in its fourth year, the Buffalo Building Reuse Project (BBRP) loan fund has proved to be an important catalyst for downtown development. Thanks to a recent infusion of $10 million from five local banks – Evans Bank, M&T Bank, First Niagara, HSBC Bank and Key Bank, as well as the New York Business Development Corporation – the program is now stronger than ever. These funds represent a major investment for downtown Buffalo and a huge boost to the BBRP loan program.
Our region, specifically our city, has been experiencing a renaissance as of late, fueled in large part by our rediscovery and reutilization of our heritage.
The momentum in downtown Buffalo continues, as buildings, streets and neighborhoods are coming back to life.
New restaurants are opening throughout downtown and new housing units are leased nearly as fast as they become available.
For well over a decade, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership has collaborated with the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls and the counties of Erie and Niagara to produce the Regional Agenda.
The document has been a combination of shared requests for both project funding and policy changes at the state and federal level.