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Developers applaud budget's brownfield distinctions

Local developers are breathing a sigh of relief with the knowledge that new restrictions for brownfield development funding will apply only to the metro New York City area.Those new rules for receiving tax credits, proposed by the Cuomo administration, are included in the newly-passed state budget and are meant to prevent potential abuse.

In Buffalo, environmental and real estate attorney Mark Romanowski of the firm Hopkins, Sorgi and Romanowski says many local development projects were held up by the uncertainty of brownfield funds, but should be put back on track.

"I think what we're going to see in the next 18 months is an uptick of those projects," said Romanowski.

Romanowski says lawmakers, by not applying the new rules to Western and Upstate New York, have recognized the continuing economic disparity between those regions and Metro New York.

"There's the perspective of downstate that gets applied to regulations impacting upstate, and they're not equal in their impact. This is finally a recognition that we are different and we need different treatment than the New York metro area," Romanowski said.

Among the developments made possible with brownfield cleanup funds are the HarborCenter and HealthNow office buildings in downtown Buffalo and the Norampac and Greenpac facilities in Niagara Falls.