At just about every corner, the city of Buffalo has turned a corner.
- City of Buffalo enjoying a revitalization
- Buffalo Billion spurring private development opportunities
- Community members buying into the process
"What it says to business is, we're investing in ourselves, because we believe in ourselves," said Tom Kucharski, Invest Buffalo Niagara president and CEO.
Leaders with Invest Buffalo Niagara say it's their mission to market the community and collaborate with its partners to spark private investment in the region.
That spark has ignited a surge in the number of local and national developers juggling multiple projects.
"We plan for growth now, instead of anticipate decline. They come in and they're pretty much sold on Buffalo. In a short amount of time that's an incredible transition from snow and chicken wings and industrial buildings to best place to be an entrepreneur," said Kucharski.
Leaders credit the Buffalo Billion for initiating investment dollars and laying the ground work for private development opportunities.
Opportunities that now reach beyond the city line.
"Not every business wants to be downtown. People need places to live, and those folks need retail and entertainment and support services. So, that's where the whole landscape of the rest of the region around the city really plays into the overall equation," said Kucharski.
In addition to private developers wanting to be part of Buffalo's resurgence, city leaders credit much of the success to members of the community who are finally buying in to the process.
"Absolutely have bought into it. I love seeing the hustle and bustle downtown on a Tuesday afternoon. The Buffalo community is buying in to development downtown. They want to spend their money here. They want to see other people come in," said Julie Leavitt, of East Aurora.
"We rode the train down here and we have a variety of things we can do," said Kelly Robertson, North Carolina.
Robertson, who was born and raised in Buffalo, comes back once a year to see how much the landscape has changed.
"This area was desolate. There was nothing to do down here, there was nowhere to eat, nowhere to have fun. And you know, it's definitely changes a lot. And I'm excited about it and I love it," said Robertson.
"I hope it continues," said Diane Keller, of Hamburg.
Keller guides tours through the Frank Lloyd Wright Graycliff estate in Derby, which was restored in part with Buffalo Billion money.
She says she now encourages others to visit Canalside and other new developments.
"Hotels, the waterfront activities, the restaurants. I'm so excited as a lifelong resident of the area. I'm extremely excited to see the growth and development here," said Keller.
Development that Kucharski says brings with it a sense of urgency to keep the momentum going.
"In sports when you get a lead, you can't stop trying to score more points. To make sure that we don't go back around the corner and be looking around the other side again," said Kucharski.
WEB EXTRA: In a statement to Spectrum News, Empire State Development leaders said, "The revitalization of downtown Buffalo has been a priority from day one for Governor Cuomo. The Regional Economic Development Council has made strategic investments that have sparked over $300 million in recent or soon-to-be implemented public and private projects in the area around One Seneca Tower –including the addition of the vibrant Explore and More Children’s Museum, One Canalside and Harborcenter at Canalside and the Times Beach Nature Preserve and Buffalo Harbor State Park at the Outer Harbor. ESD applauds M&T Bank for choosing to bring more than 1,500 jobs to One Seneca Tower, adding to the unprecedented transformation of the waterfront and downtown Buffalo.”