Better Buffalo Fund Program

Objective

The Better Buffalo Fund (BBF) is a Buffalo Billion Initiative aimed at creating vibrant, mixed-use, high-density neighborhoods and is focused on giving all residents of the City of Buffalo greater access to the major employment hubs.

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Overview

Overview

The fund offers up to $30 million for projects that encourage Buffalo’s economic development along transportation corridors and revitalize downtown commercial districts.

The Better Buffalo Fund offers two initiatives:

1. Transit Oriented Development (TOD):  a grant and revolving loan fund for up to $2 million in gap financing for adaptive reuse or infill capital projects that:

  • Promote dense development (housing, employment, retail) in proximity to transit stops
  • Encourage the use of multi-modal transportation
  • Stimulate pedestrian activity through retail and neighborhood-oriented businesses and services, quality public spaces and accessible walkways

2. Buffalo Main Streets Initiative (BMSI): considers grant requests from $50,000 to $500,000 to help revitalize historic downtowns and mixed-use neighborhood commercial districts. Funds can be used for building renovations and public space enhancements in mixed-use target areas with coordination from the community non-profit.

While a single primary applicant is required, stakeholder organization partnerships are strongly encouraged. Applications demonstrating coordinated efforts among organizations and other Better Buffalo Fund initiatives will receive priority consideration.

Eligibility

The Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is open to adaptive reuse or infill capital projects located in downtown Buffalo development areas along Main Street, Niagara Street, Bailey Avenue, Utica Street, Grant Street and Fillmore Avenue corridors.

TOD-eligible projects:

  • For-profit businesses
  • Not-for-profit corporations
  • Business improvement districts
  • Local development corporations
  • Public benefit corporations (including industrial development agencies)
  • Economic development organizations
  • City of Buffalo and/or related entities

TOD funds may be used for:

  • Acquisition of land, buildings, machinery and/or equipment
  • Environmental remediation
  • New construction, renovation or leasehold improvements
  • Acquisition of furniture and fixtures
  • Soft costs of up to 15% of total project costs
  • Planning and feasibility studies related to a specific capital project

The Buffalo Main Streets Initiative (BMSI) considers grant requests from non-profit, community-based organizations and/or business associations in the following Better Buffalo Fund target areas:

  • Allentown
  • Bailey
  • Broadway/Fillmore
  • Chippewa Street
  • East Delavan
  • Elmwood Village
  • Fillmore/MLK
  • Grant/Amherst
  • Grant/Ferry
  • Hertel
  • Jefferson Avenue
  • Kaisertown
  • Lovejoy
  • Lower Niagara/Lakeview
  • Main Street
  • Seneca/Caz
  • South Park
  • Tonawanda/Ontario
  • Upper Niagara Street

Ineligible BMSI projects:

  • For-profit businesses

How to Apply

Complete and access an online application through New York State’s Consolidated Funding Application portal.

Funding is offered periodically. Contact Angela Rossi, senior project manager, or call the Western NY Regional office at (716) 846-8200 to learn when the next funding round will be offered.

For detailed Better Buffalo Fund guidelines, download the PDF.

Get answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).

For additional information: Email: angela.rossi@esd.ny.gov or call (716) 846-8200.