BUFFALO, N.Y. — While other projects, particularly the Riverbend Manufacturing complex, have seen more headlines, New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-63) says the Northland Corridor Redevelopment Project is a key component of the governor's Buffalo Billion economic development initiative.
"This is going to be a transformational project in the heart of the city of Buffalo, in the heart of the east side of Buffalo," Kennedy said.
Multiple industrial sites in one of Buffalo's poorest areas are slated to become a new urban commerce park and workforce training center
"It's going to have a tremendous impact on our community, not just in the infrastructure and that economic investment that's going to happen, but truly in the investment into the workforce here," Kennedy said.
In total, Kennedy says various levels of government are investing more than $100 million, including a $44 million commitment from the state.
Part of the plan calls for historic tax credits to help subsidize the renovation of the former Niagara Machine and Toolworks Factory. Those credits are eliminated in the House tax reform plan and greatly reduced in the Senate version.
"We're finding out that it could derail the project in so many different ways because the historic tax credit component is upwards of $16 million," Kennedy said.
While a number of Upstate members of Congress have vowed to fight to restore the credits, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged the National Parks Service Monday to add the site to the Register of Historic Places before the reform becomes law.
"We’re racing the clock as House Republicans could success in eliminating this vital program, which helped turn around Buffalo during turbulent times," Schumer said. That’s exactly why I am urging the feds to quickly review and approve this application."
"If this historic tax credit goes away, we are going to see not just the Northland Corridor project on the ropes, but there is no question in my mind that there will be other projects, some that we know of and some that we do not yet know of, that will be scrapped," Kennedy said.
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes also says she's concerned about the Northland project, especially since asking for more funding from the state, already facing a deficit, would be difficult.
She hopes her colleagues at the federal level will ultimately come around.