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Plans for Trico plant move forward with tax credits essential to progress

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Orchard Park developer Peter Krog is moving forward with plans to revamp Buffalo’s Trico plant into more than 130 new apartments, commercial space, and a 138-room hotel.

The building at Goodell and Washington Streets is set to be sold by the Buffalo Brownfield Restoration Corporation – an affiliate of the city’s Urban Development Corporation – for $35,000. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said the modest price being paid will pay off for the city in a return on investment.

“I think any price differential will be off-set by the benefits to the community, by the difficulty of the project, and the need to bring in a very experienced developer to be able to get the project completed,” said Brown.

Plans for the redevelopment were held up Krog Corporation waited on the approval of federal historic preservation and Brownfield Cleanup Program tax credits to help pay for the $50-million project. Brown said it would be completely impossible for an undertaking like this to be done without subsidies.

“There’s a substantial gap for being able to renovate an old industrial property like this, a property that has some historic value,” said Brown.

Much of the more than 600-thousand square foot site will require significant environmental remediation due to its industrial past. Brown is hopeful that remediation won’t be a hindrance to the planned 2016 ground breaking for construction, and completion by 2018.

With so many new redevelopment projects like the Trico plant popping up, the question comes up as to whether Buffalo being over-populated with hotels. Brown said he doesn’t believe so.

“Occupancy rates are good,” Brown pointed out. “These hotels don’t get built, they don’t get financed without a market study. Banks are not going to lend money without seeing a market study. So I think there is a demand there.”

Brown said the more the city sees an increase in tourism, the more requirement there will be for hotels.

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.
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