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Demolitions to begin in Buffalo's Northland Corridor

Buffalo's Planning Board on Monday removed the last barrier to starting a major piece of the city's Northland Corridor, approving a series of demolitions and renovation of 683 Northland.

The site will become the job training for the entire program. Overall work will start in June, work on the building in August and completion in about a year. The entire project is expected to cost $42 million spent around Northland and East Delavan. Much of the design work came from Watts Architecture and Engineering.

"It's been two years where we're doing all the background information," said Buffalo Urban Development Corporation President Peter Cammarata. "But I think they're going to see all sorts of things, I know they are going to see all sorts of things happening in the neighborhood immediately including, as I have mentioned, the demolition of 537 East Delavan, the old Houdaille plant, the construction of the road, the redo of the road by the city and then there will be plenty of construction workers."

The city will repair a very rough street, as well as doing landscaping and planting trees. There will also be considerable work on cleaning up hazardous waste on most of the sites, reflecting the industrial past.

Cammarata said a major goal is for many of the construction workers to come from the surrounding community.

"It's an important piece," he said. "The workforce has to reflect the neighborhood that we're working on and we're dedicated to that happening and we've had a very good response as far as interest is concerned and we're working with a lot of the neighborhood groups who help build these types of relationships."

That includes a session Monday at Mount Olive Baptist Church - what was called a community workforce outreach event. Job training is focused on advanced manufacturing and electrical utility jobs.

While much of the project involves demolition of some of the old and closed industrial plants, a key element of the project is to create a hub for light manufacturing and commercial companies in the future.

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.
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