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City Projects May Gain National Grid Funds

Buffalo Business First [ View Original Article ]

Two urban development projects aimed at bringing vacant Buffalo buildings back to life may be in line for grants from National Grid.

The utility, through its economic development grant program, is considering approving two $50,000 allocations. One would go to developer Fred LoFaso, owner of Sienna Realty, who wants to renovate a pair of buildings at 295 Niagara Street into a 21-unit apartment complex, and the law firm of Ricotta & Visco, which is in the processing of renovating a century-old building at 496 Main St. into their new offices.

The grants would be issued to the Buffalo Urban Development Corp., which would pass them along respectively to LoFaso and the law firm.

“Both are talking about bringing historic buildings back to life and that only helps the city,” said Peter Cammarata, president of Buffalo Urban Development Corp.

LoFaso said he is investing $4.2 million on his Niagara Street project. The two buildings, one-time warehouses, date back to 1852.

The apartments would have 1,000-square-feet.

LoFaso is bringing several “green” features to the buildings including a rooftop garden and patio and charging stations for electric cars.

The four-story building, which was acquired by Ricotta & Visco, dates back to the early 1900s and has been largely vacant, save for a Chinese restaurant on its first floor, for several decades.