A new look for downtown buildings, thanks to matching grant

Feb 26, 2016

Business owners on Main Street wishing to overhaul the look of their old buildings may be in luck. They can now apply for a program that will match a $300,000 grant in renovations.

The program will be funded as part of the state’s New York Main Street program through downtown business district manager Buffalo Place.

Credit Photos by Erica L. Eichelkraut

An advisory committee will distribute the grant money to properties based on how they think it will improve the look of Downtown Buffalo.

Debra Chernoff, manager of planning at Buffalo Place, said the goal of the program is to preserve the city’s history.

“Some of the buildings in these blocks are the oldest standing buildings in Downtown Buffalo going back before 1840,” said Chernoff. “This is an opportunity for them to be able to get assistance to fix up space to make it marketable and more useful.”

The grant will also help renovate the facades of the businesses that are chosen.

“For a storefront that an owner hasn’t been able to lease for a number of years, maybe due to less automobile access to Main Street, this will help them prepare the space,” said Chernoff. “Many of the buildings in these blocks have had upper floors that haven’t been used for 50-70 years, and this grant will assist an owner to fix up the space.”

Dozens of business owners are aware of the offer, and interest is expected to grow in the next week.

“We invited all of the property owners in the 400 and 500 blocks of Main Street, and behind the block fronting on Pearl and Washington, to attend an informational meeting,” said Chernoff. “And we’re having a few other meetings with property owners who weren’t able to attend [previous meetings].”

The deadline to apply is March 7th.