by Jenna Kavanaugh, Director of Marketing & Communications
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
Bak USA is a company with a conscience. A manufacturer of low-cost PC tablet devices and mobile smartphones, its philanthropically minded Danish founders, Ulla and J.P. Folsgaard Bak, formed the company to manufacture affordable devices for underserved countries and also to create jobs and a better life for their employees. Admirable goals on both sides of the equation.
Based on their track record of success at their first factory in Haiti, the Bak’s sought to set-up a U.S. facility in order to expand and extend their reach. The operation required a clean room environment where operators could assemble devices in a non-assembly line process from components sourced from China. Integral to the project’s success was keeping overhead costs to a minimum, ensuring that the end products would be affordable and of very high quality. Access to financial incentives was critical in this aspect. The Baks came to Buffalo in March 2014, meeting with BNE and the University at Buffalo. In typical BNE style, we rolled out the red carpet, grabbed them by the hand and launched the project into hyper speed. We toured potential sites, familiarizing them with service providers and community leaders as well as the region’s diverse workforce.
Along with our proximity to Canada, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s START UP NY program, which offers a ten-year period free of state taxes, as well as personal income tax exemptions for employees, was a major factor in Bak USA’s decision to establish its business in Buffalo. After touring multiple sites, they selected the Compass East building, located on Michigan Avenue in the former Sheehan Memorial Hospital. This will become Bak USA’s global headquarters as well as the first PC tablet and smartphone manufacturing facility in the country. Bak USA will invest $840,000 in this location and expects to create 267 new jobs in total.
Currently there are employees from 13 different countries working at the plant, which plays into the company’s dedication to nurturing refugees from other nations, paying workers a living wage, and embracing racial and gender equality. Students using Bak’s affordable PC tablets across the world benefit from the company’s social responsibility. And its Buffalo employees are assembling more than affordable high-tech devices – they are building a better future for themselves and their families.
Work is underway at 145 and 149 Swan Street as the two buildings are rehabilitated. Dubbed the Apartments at the HUB, the two historic buildings will house 50 new apartments and first floor retail in original storefront space. This will all be done with a bicycle them, hence the name “the HUB”. The buildings are being developed by architect/developer Jake Schneider and his team at Schneider Design. The $13.5 million project is utilizing historic tax credits with historic review and approval services provided by Preservation Studios.
First Floor Retail:
Three bicycle-related commercial tenants will have storefronts at the Hub and a bicycle sculpture will be featured on on the corner of Michigan and Swan along with ample bike racks. Commercial tenants will include:
Go to Mapping Downtown Buffalo’s Development for more information on developments in Buffalo, NY.
So many people were generous with their locations and time in the making of Are You Right for Buffalo? Thank you for your help promoting Buffalo:
John Paget and fabulous crew of Paget Films, Block Club, Larkin Square, Buffalo Harbor Kayak, WNYBAC, Sun Restaurant, Healthy Zone Rink, Anchor Bar, Lexington Co-op, Liberty Hound, Canalside, Tabree, Bistro Europa, Megan Norris, Erin Habes, Bonnie Jean Taylor (wonderful host), Seamus (the wingman), and Chuck and Bill Banas the “twins”…Thanks so much to all!
Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager
BNE’s offices are located in downtown, Buffalo, NY – for those of you who are familiar with the city – we are practically right across the street from Shea’s Theatre on Main Street.
It’s great to be located in the region’s core. However, BNE represents the entire region which is a powerful message when working with site selectors. Companies like to consider a variety of options and have different criteria and needs for their business expansions. Our team constantly visits the communities that make up our eight county region of western NY to stay in tune with available assets, sites, and partners.
Recently, the BNE staff took a drive out to Wyoming County and got an update on the great things that are happening out there. We started our day by visiting the Perry Commerce Center. This is home to Athletica, Once Again Nut Butter, and American Classic Outfitters.
The main tenant in the commerce center is American Classic Outfitters. They manufacture sports apparel for high school, college, and professional sports teams. All jerseys are made to order and are crafted by skilled sewers and embroidery experts. It was amazing to see the amount of work that goes into making the jerseys you see athletes wearing on TV. American Classic Outfitters has over 40,000 sq ft and has over 65 employees. What an interesting operation and to see rows of sewing machines, thread and fabrics. Another company located in the center is Athletica. Athletica is a manufacturer of cheerleading and sports apparel for women. They have over 35,000 sq ft and 50 employees. Once Again Nut Butter is a warehouse and distribution company of nut products, such as organic Almond Butter, Cashew Butter, and Peanut Butters. They have over 30,000 sq ft and 12 employees within the building.
Wyoming County is also known for its large dairy farms, livestock and renewable energy. There are 323 farms in the county, producing over 1 Billion pounds of milk a year, making Wyoming County the largest milk producing county in New York State. Due to the large number of farms and agribusiness in the county and surrounding counties, Wyoming County now has a 1.4 MW digester located at the Synergy Dairy. The digester processes both farm waste and food waste from local food companies. The idea is to mix manure and food waste to create methane gas. The gas would then burn in a generator to create electricity, enough electricity, in fact, to power more than 1,000 homes. 25% of the electricity generated will be used on the farm, and a byproduct of the process will be used for bedding for the animals. This is the largest co-digester in New York State.
Wyoming also boasts 237 wind turbines in the county with 58 more currently being installed. For example, the Bliss Wind Farm has 67 turbines that generate 100.5 megawatts of power, and opened May 18, 2008.
With its mix of quaint villages, unique shops, and excellent restaurants and natural retreats there is so much to see and do in Wyoming County. With top employers like Pioneer Credit Recovery, Morton Salt, API Heat Transfer, Koike Aronson, Prestolite Electric and Markin Tubing, there’s a great quality of life to be had.