City unveils tool for redevelopment of historic buildings

Apr 15, 2014

A new study was released Monday to steer developers to historic buildings ready for re-purposing in downtown Buffalo. The ‘Preservation Ready Survey’ is expected to make it easier for developers to see which buildings are eligible for historic preservation tax credits and incentives.

There are 571 properties in downtown Buffalo listed on the survey, including the former AM & A’s department store on Main Street and the General Electric Building on East Huron. Tax credits for rehabilitation projects currently totals 40 percent of the projects cost.

Mayor Byron Brown says the guide will showcase the properties ready for transformation. He says the study also drives more housing and mixed use projects in the city.

Mayor Byron Brown unveils 'Preservation Ready Study' at the Planning Mill located on Elm Street in downtown Buffalo.
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News

“We’re very pleased with the development interest that we have and we’re certainly very pleased with the talented local developers that are moving projects forward, but we’re trying to accelerate the pace of development. We’re trying to get more done simultaneously and we believe that this survey is an instrument that will help us to do that,” said Brown.

The study only features properties in the downtown area by name, address and description. The survey was funded by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and National Grid. It was completed by Pan American Consultant Incorporated with help from the city of Buffalo, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, and initiated by the Buffalo Building Reuse Project.

Historic Preservation Deputy Commissioner Ruth Pierpont says the survey will make it easier to preserve historic structures.

“This proactive approach, identifying things ahead of time, being ready to take advantage of the programs is a model that our office wants to use in other areas [across the state],” said Pierpont.

Mayor Brown says he’s pushing for a goal of 1,300 new housing units in Buffalo by 2018. The survey will be distributed this week along with a book and CD containing additional information to more than 500 developers locally and nationally.