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National Grid on board for Buffalo reuse effort

by chocieni
Wed, Jul 11th 2012 12:00 am

 National Grid has become the first private-sector firm to throw its financial weight behind the still-emerging Buffalo Building Reuse Project.

The utility has pledged up to $4 million in support during the next three years for development projects identified under the Buffalo Building Reuse umbrella. The Buffalo Building Reuse Project, championed by Mayor Byron Brown and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, is designed to bring older structures back to life with new investment dollars.

The project, introduced earlier this year, comes on line when downtown Buffalo is seeing a building resurgence but at the same may be dealing with added vacancy in the coming years.

The National Grid investment, officials say, may spur others in the private sector to add to the project's financial pool. Brown has already committed $11.25 million in city dollars.

"We hope it encourages new investment," said Andrew Rudnick, Buffalo Niagara Partnership president and chief executive officer. "This could be the model for others. It is important in itself that National Grid stepped up, but it is also important because it may leverage other investments."

The National Grid funds can be used for a wide variety of development-related efforts including underwriting traditional bricks-and-mortar costs or making infrastructure improvements. It is designed to be used in conjunction with a developer's amassed funding.

"We want to help projects work," said Ken Daly, National Grid New York president.

National Grid is allocating $1.25 million for the next three years for the fund, plus another $500,000 through its Strategic Economic Development and Cooperative Recruitment program.

All funding requests will be reviewed before any allocations are made, Daly said.

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