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Millions set aside for downtown rehab

genesee street rehab.JPG
Mike Desmond/WBFO
New program will boost this portion of Genesee Street.

National Grid is putting millions of dollars into a city program to renovate old buildings for new uses.

The cash from National Grid was announced during a news conference yesterday in the Genesee Gateway complex of mostly rehabbed-buildings.

Office space in the complex is gradually filling up and work on apartments is starting, more living space in a Downtown which seems able to absorb more and more residents.

Mayor Brown says the 1,000 housing units opened in very recent years are making Downtown the fastest growing neighborhood in the city.

Over the next three years, National Grid will put nearly $four million into helping finance renovations of buildings and the city will spend more than $11 million to fix up communities around the rehabbed buildings, like Genesee Street near Genesee Gateway.

"Government will make the investments that it is supposed to make as part of this partnership," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. 

"The public sector investment will be done in a way to stimulate and speed up private sector investment that we are seeing more and more of in downtown Buffalo.Real energy. Real buzz. Real excitement."

Often the city improvements are quality of life projects, like trees, park benches and bicycle racks as well as streets and sidewalks.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.