Historic tax credits have sparked plenty of investment in Western New York. For years, the focus of this growth has been on downtown Buffalo. Rep. Brian Higgins spoke Tuesday afternoon in the city, saying now that revitalization is shifting into local neighborhoods.

Higgins says approved investment in Western New York, made possible through historic tax credits, have now reached $1.27 billion. Because of that, not only is downtown Buffalo being revamped, but so are communities further out.

The Historic Tax Credit program provides a 20 percent tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic, income-producing properties.

These tax credits have helped launch several projects in the area such as the conversion of a former school into affordable senior apartments on the West Side and the transformation of what was once a mattress factory into offices and market rate apartments in the Hamlin Park neighborhood.

Higgins says the investment helps create jobs and allows communities to become economically self-sufficient.

“The Buffalo Niagara region has come a long way over the last 10 years but for our region to reach its full potential, the resurgence must reach into the neighborhoods. The historic tax credits are a crucial piece to the puzzle for neighborhood stabilization and revitalization,” Higgins said.

The congressman made these statements during a press conference in front of a former school on Sears Street on the city’s East Side that’s being turned into affordable housing. The $10 million project is made possible because of $5 million in historic tax credits. Officials plan to open it sometime in the fall.

The Buffalo region is one of the top 25 places in the country to use these credits to improve their areas.