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Say Yes gets investment pledge from developers of loft apartment project

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Say Yes Buffalo Scholarship Fund is about to receive another infusion of cash. WBFO News has learned that a group of business leaders is pledging to invest some of the profits they earn from a renovation project at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. 

Buffalo real estate developer Nick Sinatra is now teaming with Buffalo native Daniel Lewis to renovate space for loft apartments at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. They have invested over $5 million to redevelop the former Phoenix Brewery Company on Washington Street, a city landmark.

Lewis tells WBFO News the investors will in share 1 -percent of their profits with Say Yes Buffalo, a program that allows Buffalo Public School students to attend college tuition-free.

"What we are trying to do is set an example where we can make an investment in the community, where there is a pre-design profit sharing with the children of Buffalo," said Lewis in a WBFO News interview. "We are not just investing in Buffalo, but also giving back to the community in something that is very important."

Lewis is a member of board of Say Yes Buffalo as well as the National Say Yes program. He has already invested over $1 million for Say Yes Buffalo through the Lewis Family Foundation. 

Alphonso O'Neil-White, chair of the Say Yes Board, says he is "thrilled" about the news. 

"We're extremely excited about this," said O'Neil-White. "They will calculate their net profits and share that with Say Yes Buffalo."

Lewis says he believes it is critical to cultivate a better economic future for the Western New York region by providing education to the underprivileged.

"I care a great deal about this community," said Sinatra. "And when I started Sinatra & Company, we made community redevelopment an important part of our corporate mission."

The exact amount of this latest investment for Say Yes remains unknown, but the 10 percent of profits will come from rents and other revenues from the loft apartment project in the Medical Campus.  

Last year, more than 1,000 city school students headed to college through the scholarship program. Say Yes Buffalo, founded in 2011, has grown to more than $19 million.