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BUFFALO'S HISTORIC RICHARDSON COMPLEX WILL RECEIVE MORE THAN

 

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June 17, 2013                                                               

Sharon Linstedt

TraversCollins 

(716) 464-4723 

slinstedt@traverscollins.com

BUFFALO'S HISTORIC RICHARDSON COMPLEX WILL RECEIVE MORE THAN$7.5 MILLION IN TAX BREAKS FROM THE ERIE COUNTY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY TO AID $55 MILLION REUSE PLAN

Buffalo, NY - The Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA) today approved a mix of property, sales tax and mortgage recording tax abatements to assist the revival of the long-languishing Richardson Complex.

 

The former Administrative Towers Building of the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, located at 400 Forest Avenue, just off Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, will undergo a $55.1 million transformation to a 90-room boutique hotel, conference and event space and an architectural center.

 

The ECIDA's aid package of more than $7.5 million, will be utilized by the Richardson Center Corporation, along with New York State funds, to repurpose the Circa-1880s building, designed by H.H. Richardson. The 42-acre site, which is includes the tower and 14 other historic structures, is registered with the National Park Service as a national Historic Landmark and is listed National Register of Historic Sites.

 

Howard Zemsky, Chairman of the Richard Center Corporation board, who also is a member of the ECIDA board, abstained from the unanimous vote, but thanked his fellow board members for supporting the high-profile adaptive reuse project.

 

"This is fantastic. It's a phenomenal project for the city and the region," Mr. Zemsky said.

 

The current project includes rehabilitation of the Tower and two adjacent former ward buildings, totaling approximately 150,000-sqaure-feet. 

 

When completed, the overhaul will create 45 full-time and 22 part-time jobs.

 

The ECIDA board also approved $388,000 in tax abatements for Simmers Crane Design & Service, which plans to construct a $1.7 million manufacturing facility at the former Spaulding Fibre site in the City of Tonawanda.

 

Simmers, which provides engineering, design, build and inspection services of overhead indoor cranes and hoists, currently leases 11,400-square-feet of space at 255 in the Town of Tonawanda.  The new 20,000-square-foot facility will include 5,000-square-feet of office space and 15,000-square-feet of manufacturing space.

 

Simmers will be the first tenant in new 47 acre industrial park, a former brownfield site that was cleaned up through the joint efforts of New York State, Erie County and the Town of Tonawanda. Simmers, a division of Pollock Research & Design, will utilize 4.5 acres.

 

In other action, the board turned down a request for $1.06 million in sales and mortgage recording tax relief from South Buffalo Charter School. The school, currently located in former Buffalo Public School #29 at 2219 South Park Ave., in Buffalo, wants to create a new campus on 26 acres of vacant land at 154 South Ogden St.

 

The 9-7 vote in favor of the $20.75 million project, fell one vote short of the required 10 affirmative votes required for approval. Several board members raised concerns about the fate of the school's current South Park property, the need to build a new school when other educational facilities sit mothballed, while others objected to providing tax breaks to a charter school on the grounds it reduces state aid to Buffalo Public Schools.

 

The ECIDA has a track record of supporting charter school projects, previously approving tax abatements for five others, including Enterprise Charter School which started off as a tenant of the agency at its Oak Street campus and recently purchased its portion of the site from the ECIDA.

 

South Buffalo Charter School currently has 670 students in grades K-4, with a waiting list.  The school expected to boost enrollment to nearly 1,000, expanding to a K-8 facility.