Niagara Gazette

Opinion

February 6, 2014

GUEST VIEW: New Third Street investment by the numbers

Niagara Gazette — The private sector is making significant investment in the Third Street Commercial District. Proven local business people, who could have invested anywhere in the region, chose our city. That is a win for Niagara Falls.

New commercial and market rate residential development on Third Street benefits our entire community. More investment means more tax revenue, more commerce, new construction projects, and creation of permanent jobs. It means fewer vacant buildings and government-funded demolitions. All have positive impacts on the city’s future bottom line.

The Dyster Administration wants to keep our residents directly informed about these developments, and the City’s role in the process. As always, you deserve clearly stated facts. To that end, here is the new Third Street investment by the numbers:

• 6 – Buildings have been purchased on Third Street, from Niagara Street to Main Street, within the last 12 months. All of the new owners — private sector investors — live in Western New York. This is in marked contrast to the past, when out-of-town speculators with no apparent redevelopment plans owned much of the street.

• $803,000 – Total price paid by three different local development groups to purchase the buildings. The previous owners were willing to sell, and the new owners were willing to spend their own money upfront.

• 27,000 square feet – Amount of commercial and residential space being renovated and modernized by the new owners. The majority of this space has until now sat vacant.

• $1.7 million – The total investment, including purchase prices and renovations, being put into the development of these properties.

 $80,000 – Total amount of casino funds being contributed to three separate building renovations, as approved by the NFC Board earlier this month. These grants will be dedicated to hard costs: apartment renovation, building improvements, and the purchase of equipment. All grants are dollar-for-dollar matches with the owner, with public funds to be delivered when the work is complete and inspected, not upfront. If the legal conditions of the grant are not met, the funds are not turned over. The Niagara Falls Community Development Department is also working with the new owners to obtain matching storefront improvement grants from federal and Empire State Development sources, not city funds.

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