Better Buffalo Fund Program

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Objective

The Better Buffalo Fund (BBF) is a New York State 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

The fund offers up to $40 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.

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Eligibility

See a map of Better Buffalo Fund Target Investment Areas.

The Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is open to adaptive reuse or infill capital projects located in downtown Buffalo development areas within a half-mile walking distance of Buffalo transit stops on Bailey Avenue, Grant Street, Main Street, Niagara Street, Utica Street and Fillmore Avenue corridors.

TOD-eligible applicants:

  • 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. For Round 5, the geography for the fund has been extended to include a larger portion of Broadway (extending from Mortimer Street to Reed Street) and a portion of Abbott Road (between Robins and Cazenovia streets). Grant requests will now be considered in the following Better Buffalo Fund target areas: Abbott, Allentown, Broadway, Chippewa Street, East Delavan, Elmwood Village, Grant/Amherst, Grant/Ferry, Hertel, Kaisertown, Lovejoy, Lower Niagara/Lakeview, Main Street, Seneca-Caz, South Park, Tonawanda/Ontario, Upper Niagara Street and Connecticut Street corridors*.

Note that projects seeking assistance on East Side Corridors Kensington/Bailey, Broadway/Fillmore, Jefferson, and Fillmore/MLK Park, are eligible for property enhancements through the East Side Commercial District Program through the East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund. See program information here.

Ineligible BMSI applicants:

  • For-profit businesses
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How to Apply

The Round 5 Letter of Intent Application process is now closed.  LOI applicants who have been selected to complete a full application have been notified.  

Proposal Deadlines and Timeline:

Program guidelines released: December 1, 2021

Virtual public information meeting: December 8, 2021

Letter of Intent due: December 20, 2021, 4:00 P.M.

Notification of Invitation to Proceed to Application: January 18, 2022

Application due: February 21, 2022

Awards announced: Spring 2022

LOIs and full proposals received after the deadline will not be reviewed.

For additional information, email [email protected]