Project features 28 affordable housing units, free Head Start child education program
One of 11 projects for Buffalo’s $10 million Broadway-Fillmore Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award; see renderings here.
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the start of construction for 950 Broadway LLC in east Buffalo. The $13.5 million project, by Cedarland Development LLC, will renovate and convert a 50,000-square-foot, vacant and underutilized building in east Buffalo into a mixed-use development, featuring 28 affordable housing units, a free Head Start child education program, and a proposed indoor urban farm.
Hochul’s team said, “The building has been unused for 18 years, with portions of the building being vacant for decades prior. Once complete, the renovated 950 Broadway will bring new life to the former retail store-turned-office building near one of the most visible intersections in east Buffalo.”
The governor previously announced 950 Broadway LLC was chosen with 10 other projects in Buffalo’s Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood as part of a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award.
“The groundbreaking for 950 Broadway today is a new beginning for this long-vacant, prominent structure in east Buffalo,” Hochul said. “Once a blight on the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood, the historic building will now be a community anchor and catalyst for economic development. Homes will be made here, and we look forward to welcoming new neighbors to the Buffalo community.”
Located at the corner of Broadway and Fillmore, the former Eckhardt’s and Kobacker’s department store will contain 28 affordable apartments and a Head Start children’s education program run by the Community Action Organization. An indoor urban farm has been proposed for the building’s basement. Apartments in the building will include 10 studio apartments,12 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom units.
A press release stated, “Buffalo’s Broadway-Fillmore was a DRI winner in round 5. Located in east Buffalo and one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, the Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood is the focus of Buffalo’s plan for a downtown investment. The Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood, with a relatively dense stock of largely historic commercial buildings, set forth a vision of creating special urban places, key park spaces, retail-oriented streets, improved neighborhood connections, bike and pedestrian connections, streetscape improvements, and public realm improvements. Building on this momentum, Buffalo aims to encourage more redevelopment of vacant structures, provide better connections between anchors and amenities through greenspace, increase affordable housing opportunities, and enhance the streetscape.”
To support the commercial renovations and building stabilization in Cedarland, the state of New York is providing a substantial loan of $900,000 along with a grant worth $1.1 million from Empire State Development’s Better Buffalo Fund. Moreover, the project has been granted an additional $427,150 for the construction of daycare facilities through the Department of State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative for the Broadway Fillmore Neighborhood, making it a truly comprehensive undertaking. The state’s commitment to affordable housing is evident, as New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) has pledged $2.1 million in construction and permanent financing through its Small Building Participation Loan Program. The Community Preservation Corp. (CPC) is also playing a significant role, providing a $7.8 million construction loan and a $3.2 million SONYMA-insured permanent loan, thanks to its partnership with the New York State Common Retirement Fund. Additionally, with the developer’s contributions and incentives from National Grid, exceeding $2.9 million in Historic Tax Credit Equity, the project has managed to secure a diverse range of funding sources. Furthermore, the State of New York Mortgage Agency’s Insurance Fund is involved by providing mortgage insurance on CPC’s permanent financing. The collaborative efforts of these entities highlight the state’s commitment to community development and revitalization in Cedarland, benefiting both businesses and residents alike.
Rendering provided by the Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul
Hochul’s team continued, “The Art Moderne building – with its rounded facade of granite, terra cotta and stainless steel – was designed by architects Bley and Lyman and built in 1940 as a department store. From 1940 until 1957, the building operated as a department store. Later, it served as office space for the State Department of Labor.
Cedarland Development Group is a local real estate development company founded by Dr. Fadi Dagher and his son, Kevin Dagher. Dr. Dagher’s love for the community led to initial real estate investments, which soon evolved into a mission to positively influence Buffalo’s ongoing renaissance. Throughout this project, Cedarland Development feels fortunate to collaborate with many partners who share their vision. Project financing was completed by the Community Preservation Corp., and construction is managed by Buffalo Construction Consultants.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The eagerly awaited adaptive reuse of 950 Broadway will bring economic development and neighborhood revitalization to a prominent corner in east Buffalo. It complements Gov. Hochul’s long-standing commitments and investments in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood, including the East Side Commercial Districts program, Broadway Market, Central Terminal and other projects.”
Fillmore District Council Member Mitch Nowakowski said, “This transformative project, led by Cedarland Development LLC, will breathe new life into a long-vacant building and bring affordable housing, educational opportunities, and job prospects to our neighborhood. It’s a testament to the positive impact we can achieve through strategic investments, and I look forward to seeing this development flourish in the heart of East Buffalo.”
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “This $13 million investment in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood promises new life and vitality in the form of 28 affordable homes, numerous job opportunities, and accessible, quality child care. HCR is proud to be a partner in this effort and gratified to continue our work here in east Buffalo to reinvigorate the neighborhood and to bring this highly visible and architecturally significant building back to life.”
Cedarland Development Group Founder Dr. Fadi Dagher said, “950 Broadway represents not just a building but a commitment to revitalizing our community. We are dedicated to addressing the community’s needs by delivering essential neighborhood services and affordable housing projects in collaboration with our community partners and elected officials.”
City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “I thank Gov. Kathy Hochul for her continued dedication to development in the City of Buffalo. I commend Cedarland Development LLC for their hard work to get this project off the ground. In 2022, the city secured about $10 million through a competitive application process for the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Through this secured state funding, we were able to assist with creating the day care portion of the 950 Broadway project. I am proud of the hard work our Office of Strategic Planning has done to complete the DRI application and to help the local planning committee with project planning. In addition to the 950 Broadway project, the city secured funding for other projects in the Broadway Fillmore area such as revitalizing Sears Paderewski Park, affordable housing at Playter Gardens at the Market, and improvements to the Matt Urban Center.”