Steps to Effectively Manage Your New York State Commercial Real Estate Purchase


There is an old adage in real estate that says ‘if you can agree on price and possession’ then the rest of the contract will fall into place.  Possession is a synonym for timing, and when purchasing commercial real estate for U.S. business expansion the timeline is often underestimated. Heated market conditions have changed the way the due diligence process occurs from ‘sequential’ to ‘simultaneous’ and this requires firms to front some soft costs such as appraisal, environmental etc. while they pursue the economic incentives.  Plus, access to incentives, low-cost utilities and other types of support can be different from what is available in other countries and may impact the process.

Here is a guide to what international companies can expect:

Step one: Connect with Experts

Companies interested in an US expansion should connect with economic development agencies such as Invest Buffalo Niagara or a professional Site Selector. It is important for companies to develop an upfront, detailed relationship with these professionals when entering the real estate market so that a clear and concise game plan that can be readily executed.

Step two: Define Your Needs

Economic development experts such as Invest Buffalo Niagara will meet with you to understand your business plan and project scope. They will look to understand your facility requirements and other factors that will impact your site location decision.

Step three: View the Landscape

Once you define your site criteria, Invest Buffalo Niagara can conduct a preliminary search to understand availability in the local market as it relates to your real estate needs and connect you with the local real estate community.

Step four: Understand Competitive Tools

There is potential to qualify for incentives, financial assistance, infrastructure development, customized training and technical support programs when locating a new business and creating new jobs in Buffalo Niagara.  Many of those incentives are site specific. A company must purchase or lease a property ‘contingent’ upon securing the incentive package, otherwise; they will jeopardize receiving them.

Step five: Apply for Competitive Tools

The process to obtain the incentive package can take time depending on which program(s) are targeted. Applicants must provide company and financial information – not being prepared with this information can prolong the process. Organizations like Invest Buffalo Niagara will help you navigate the applications and incentive process but companies must be prepared with the necessary information and paperwork.

Step six: Conduct Due Diligence

The due diligence phase of the commercial real estate process now becomes sequential versus simultaneous. Most purchase contracts include a contingency time period for due diligence to be undertaken. It’s possible that activities such as mortgage application, environmental reports, building inspections and legal reviews may not be completed in the original contingency time period. This does not have to be a significant issue, as extensions to the due diligence period are commonly negotiated. However, with the existing industrial vacancy rate shrinking the in metropolitan Buffalo market, prolonged due diligence periods make the timing component in the ‘price and possession’ equation increasingly difficult to accommodate.

Step seven: Take Possession

Start your business! Keep in mind there will be a transition period as you get your new facility up and running. Some facilities will need modification and new equipment; most new facilities will need time and training to implement a new U.S. team.

While the process can seem somewhat daunting, working closely with economic development professionals such as Invest Buffalo Niagara and a good commercial real estate broker can make the process orderly and profitable.

Guest blog: Steve Blake, CCIM, Partner, CBRE|Buffalo 716-362-8707 /

10 Insights on Raising Money in Buffalo, NY

This week Buffalo will host the 7th Annual Bright Buffalo Niagara Entrepreneur Expo, an event designed to connect startup companies in Buffalo, New York with potential investors. In addition to a keynote address from Bill Rancic, the original Apprentice, 32 competitively selected companies will deliver 5 minute and 90 second investor pitches.

Bright Buffalo Niagara is similar to the startup ecosystem you will find in Buffalo – supportive and collaborative. Patrick Finan, co-founder and CEO of Loupe, an app with exclusive perks, discounts and insider information at top locally owned restaurants in cities throughout the United States and Canada, provided an example of this recently. He shared insight on Buffalo’s startup landscape and funding opportunities on his blog.

Entrenched in Buffalo’s startup scene, Patrick states, “The competitions, plans, ideas and organizations are working; Buffalo’s startup community is growing. With all of this energy and enthusiasm in the air, I thought it was time to share what I’ve learned raising money in the City of No Illusions.”

Read, 10 Things Patrick Finan Learned Raising Money in Buffalo, New York.

Enjoy Patrick’s post and I hope to see you at Bright Buffalo Niagara.

Development Opportunities in Buffalo Niagara


Buffalo is a City on the Rise. The growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and significant development projects such as SolarCity and IBM are driving demand for new amenities and residential living.

Buffalo will add over 12,000 new employees by 2018, the vast majority of whom will locate downtown. The Central Business District’s 97% occupancy rate is driving Mayor Byron Brown’s goal of completing 2,000 residential housing units in the downtown area during this time frame. Close proximity to major employers, access to public transit, a vibrant restaurant scene and many entertainment offerings make downtown an attractive housing option.

To view development opportunities – including over 20 unique parcels ready for redevelopment – please see the 2016 Downtown Development Guide.

Sponsored by National Grid, the guide is the result of a collaborative partnership between Mayor Byron Brown, Chairman of the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, CBRE Buffalo, and Buffalo Place.

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Director Marketing & Communications

Buffalo Niagara: The Fam Tour

Buffalo Niagara Enterprise recently hosted a group of Site Selectors for a two-day Familiarization Tour. As you can tell by one attendee’s comments below, it was truly perception changing:

I wanted to thank you for your hospitality and that of your entire team during last week’s program in Buffalo.  I came away with an entirely new perspective on Buffalo, many ideas about how I might use what I saw and learned, and the knowledge that your team is knowledgeable, professional, personal, and enthused about Buffalo. I look forward to working with the people I met, both from BNE and the various organizations we met with, and I must say that there has not been a day since I returned that I have not told someone about things I saw and learned there.

Here are some highlights of the exciting (and busy) event:

Niagara Falls Tour

The weather was perfect and we had a great view – including a rainbow.  We can’t visit the Falls with Site Selectors without having good discussion about low-cost hydropower available from the New York Power Authority.


Bak USA Tour

Ulla Bak, president of Bak USA, the first pc tablet manufacturer in the US, hosted a tour of their new facility. Karen Utz, director, program administration, University at Buffalo Office of Economic Development and Robert Leteste, commercialization coordinator, New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, provided an overview of StartUP-NY and discussed how the program helped drive Bak’s decision to locate in Buffalo Niagara. Attendees each received a WIFI Bak tablet as a memento of their visit.


Buffalo Manufacturing Works & Manufacturing Panel

Steve Levesque, operations manager, and Nadine Powell, business development and engagement, gave an in-depth look at Buffalo Manufacturing Works, part of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan.  Moog, GM Powertrain, Tapecon, and Remedy Staffing all participated in a panel discussing manufacturing opportunities in terms of workforce, real estate, infrastructure and affordability in Buffalo Niagara.


Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

Vic Nole, director of new business development, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc, delivered an in-depth tour of the booming Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus while Dennis Penman, Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation gave an inside peak at the Conventus, including a rooftop tour.



Site Selectors enjoyed meeting business leaders and elected officials during a reception hosted by Phillips Lytle LLP overlooking Canalside.


Professional Service Provider Panel

IBM Buffalo Innovation Center, Delaware North and Liazon provided insight to the attraction, hiring and retention of key talent  that businesses can expect when starting or growing in Buffalo Niagara. They delivered strong testimony to the quality and talent of the region’s workforce.


SolarCity GigaFactory Tour

Empire State Development Corporation’s, Peter Cutler, director of communications and special projects showcased construction and discussed progress on the SolarCity site at RiverBend, the largest solar panel manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere.


Development Site Tour

Peter Cammarata, president, and David Stebbins, vice president, Buffalo Urban Development Corporation along with Christopher Pawenski, coordinator of industrial assistance programs, Erie County showcased available properties at RiverBend (southside), Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park, (former) Bethlehem Site, and Northlands.


When asked about their perceptions of Buffalo after their visit, site selectors responded:

“Very impressed with the development, transition and opportunities. I like what’s going on.”

“An area that is absolutely in the process of transforming itself. A vibrant, diverse economy with business owners that care about the community. A cooperative economic development approach across multiple departments.”

Thank you to the wonderful site selectors that visited with us in Buffalo Niagara and to all of the organizations and people that supported this event!

This Familiarization tour was assisted with a grant from National Grid, through the NYS Public Service Commission approved Economic Development Plan.

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

Buffalo’s Skyline Changes

HC-BeforeAfter-3 (2)

Construction at HARBORCENTER nears completion! The photo above is a comparison between July 2014 and July 2015. This development sets a new standard for sports entertainment. The one-of-a-kind facility is composed of two hockey rinks, a 205-room Marriott hotel, parking ramp, Tim Horton’s Coffee Shop, (716) Food and Sports restaurant, and retail shops, all connected to First Niagara Center.

by Alyssa Crick Williams, Graphic Designer

Canadian Company’s American Plant Awarded for Sustainability Success in Buffalo


In 2011, Avanti Advanced Manufacturing opened its first US location in Buffalo, specializing in custom fabrication and plastic injection molding.  They currently have seven full-time employees and plan to double their employment in the next year. This year, Avanti was named a winner in Business First’s Manufacturing Awards in the Sustainability Category.  These prestigious awards are presented to companies in the manufacturing industry that are a major economic force in the region.

Avanti has found US success in a variety of ways and by growing their business slowly.  The company purchased a reasonably priced building and made the needed improvements to it, all while developing and strengthening relationships with neighboring residents and working with local organizations such as churches to recruit employees.  Avanti’s owner and president, Jim Wei, has found that the local residents and members of these congregations have a willingness to learn and a great work ethic, and he provides training on his specialized equipment.

Wei has developed a system to use the outside air to cool Avanti’s machines and save on power costs.  He continually looks for ways to improve efficiency within his operations so that he can then increase manpower and quantity of products manufactured.

One of the products Avanti designs and manufactures is a tile for the building construction industry that is made from recycled materials, allowing the building to claim LEED credits during the construction process.  The tiles are sourced approximately 30 miles from the facility, which qualifies them as a local supplier and meets the requirements for LEED credits.  Another sustainable Avanti product is Ecoglo, which is a no-slip and natural glow-in-the-dark strip for stairs and sidewalks.  These strips have been installed locally at the front entrance of The Mansion on Delaware as well as many high-profile buildings across the country.

The BNE team offers our congratulations to Jim Wei and the employees of Avanti Advanced Manufacturing Corp on your success in Buffalo, NY and your well-deserved award.

by Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager

A “Gold” Moment for Buffalo

With a high energy crowd, Advertising Club of Buffalo celebrated some of Buffalo’s leading advertising and design work last week at the 2015 Western New York Addy Awards. Congratulations to all! And Special Kudos to John Paget and team for Next Things Now: Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Buffalo, Gold recipient.

After watching the video again, I’m looking forward the launch of the next 43North competition!

The Buffalo Billion Evolution

Sunset Downtown Buffalo, New YorkPhotographer: Douglas Levere

Sunset Downtown Buffalo, New YorkPhotographer: Douglas Levere

The change in Buffalo Niagara’s collective psyche and economy – a renewed optimism, cranes in the air, and growth of new and existing businesses – is not a figment of our imaginations.  The after-effect of the “Buffalo Billion” is tangible and much-deserved credit goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s investment in Western New York’s future.

From downstate all the way to Asia, Buffalo Niagara is benefiting from a renewed interest and greater appreciation of our assets.  Our affordable workforce, infrastructure, low-cost power, educational institutions and enviable location have been promoted by BNE since its inception 16 years ago.  The Buffalo Billion was the shot in the arm that our region needed, and where preparation met opportunity.  And the momentum it has created, the change in attitude from within and without, must be sustained. Thanks to thoughtful planning and execution, that is an attainable goal.

The involvement of local universities in the development of start-ups has the potential to retain and attract highly educated graduates and create jobs for some of the talented 25 – 34 year olds who left for greener pastures.  I don’t know a single parent who wouldn’t be pleased to have their kids come back, and now that is more than a pipedream.

Cooperation among counties, including IDAs and elected officials, is another positive outcome.  The BNE has been involved with and provided support for many of the Buffalo Billion’s initiatives, and we will continue to build on strategies such as smart growth, diversity, and workforce development, working cooperatively with nearby regions.

It’s no accident that Buffalo Niagara caught the Governor’s attention and earned his trust and investment. More than a decade of hard work, cooperation and thoughtful planning are paying off in dividends that can and will sustain this positive momentum and become of a model for the rest of the state to follow.

by Tom Kucharski, President & CEO

It’s Happening Now! Check out the New Buffalo

This short video (Paget Films) shows some of Buffalo Niagara’s newest developments and captures the region’s momentum and energy. Nice job Western New York Regional Council and ESDC. Check it out!

New Buffalo,NY Development Maps

New Downtown Buffalo, NY Developments Maps Now Available

New Downtown Buffalo, NY Developments Maps                Now Available

As 2015 settles in, what better time than to revisit and update our downtown Buffalo, NY development maps. The past few years have been a watershed for the economic momentum of the region and downtown Buffalo is receiving the brunt of the benefits. As usual, we updated two maps. The first shows the projects classified by status (Under construction, Proposed, & Completed), the second captures that information as well, but organized by project type, (Buffalo Billion, Office, Mixed use, Hospitality/Tourism, Medical, Residential, Other).

Buffalo, NY Downtown Development Maps:

As always, this information is gathered from a variety of public sources, focusing on projects with a minimum of $1,000,000 in investment. Any omissions are oversights, and feedback is always welcome!

by Christopher Finn, Research Manager