Empire State Development: East side commercial district program information sessions

Empire State Development announced information sessions for the $2 million east side commercial district program, an initiative part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund. The program will provide up to $50,000 in grant assistance to commercial property owners in four commercial districts with buildings in need of exterior and interior repairs.

Interested, eligible property owners are encouraged to attend upcoming meetings in their districts to learn more about program requirements, the application process, the assistance available through the program, and to meet their districts’ local program administrators (LPA). Information sessions will be held in each district throughout November, with final selection of projects expected in early 2020.

“This funding will help to revive traditional main streets and commercial corridors in underserved neighborhoods through the preservation of historic buildings, funding of capital improvements, and expansion of commercial opportunities in four east side commercial corridors,” said ESD Acting Commissioner and President/CEO-designate Eric Gertler.

The program will expand neighborhood-serving businesses, including retail, restaurants and other services; and increase mixed-use opportunities along strong commercial districts along Jefferson, Fillmore and Bailey avenues. ESD will work with the LPAs to administer the program and allocate $500,000 to each of the four target districts. Building owners are required to contribute 15% of the total project costs, and the 85% balance of costs – up to $50,000 –w ill be covered by the grant.

LPAs were selected for the program based on their experience administering similar programs such as the NY Main Street Initiative and Buffalo Main Street Initiative.

Upcoming information meetings are being held in the following districts at the following times. Interested attendees should contact the sponsor organizations for more information and to RSVP.

See map of eligible districts here

•Broadway Fillmore Commercial District – Thursday, Nov. 7, 6 p.m. Coverage area: Buildings with a Fillmore Avenue address between Sycamore Street and Paderewski Drive, as well as buildings on corner lots. Buildings with a Broadway address between Memorial Drive and Reed Street, as well as buildings on corner lots. Meeting location: Jericho Road Community Health Center, 1021 Broadway, Buffalo. LPA: Broadway Fillmore Neighborhood Housing Services. LPA program contact/RSVP: Brianna Byandagara, bbyandagara@780fillmore.org, 716-852-3130.

•MLK Park Commercial District – Thursday, Nov. 21, 6 p.m. Coverage area: Properties and corner lots on Fillmore Avenue between East Ferry Street and North Parade Avenue. Meeting location: Merriweather Library, 1324 Jefferson Ave., Buffalo. LPA: Broadway Fillmore Neighborhood Housing Services. LPA contact/RSVP: Brianna Byandagara, bbyandagara@780fillmore.org, 716-852-3130.

•Kensington Bailey Commercial District – Monday, Nov. 25, 8-9 a.m. and 6-7 p.m. Coverage area: Buildings with a Bailey Avenue address between LaSalle Avenue and Route 33, as well as buildings on corner lots. Meeting location: University District Community Development Association Office at 995 Kensington Ave., Buffalo. LPA: University District Community Development Association. LPA contact/RSVP: Essence Sweat, e.sweat@udcda.org, 716-832-1010, ext. 202.

*Note: UDCDA will offer two meetings on Nov. 25 with the same content at different times.

•Jefferson Avenue Commercial District – Tuesday, Nov. 26, 6:30 p.m. Coverage area: Buildings with a Jefferson Avenue address between East Ferry Street and Dodge Street, as well as establishments on corner lots. Meeting location: Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center, 334 E. Utica St., Buffalo. LPA: Citizens’ Alliance Inc., in partnership with the Black Chamber of Commerce of WNY. LPA contact/RSVP: Sydney Brown, sbrown7333@gmail.com, 716-597-0262.

Managed by ESD, the commercial districts program is an initiative in Cuomo’s previously announced $50 million East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund, part of the Buffalo Billion II initiative. It is intended to help revive traditional main streets and commercial corridors through the preservation of historic buildings, funding of capital improvements in neighborhood assets, and expansion of commercial opportunities in these neighborhoods.

Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov).