Main St. renovation site receives grant

September 27, 2013 Updated May 5, 2010 at 8:51 AM EDT

By Business First of Buffalo - by James Fink

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September 27, 2013 Updated May 5, 2010 at 8:51 AM EDT

Plans to revitalize a long-vacant downtown building along Main Street's 500 block is receiving an economic boost from National Grid.

Developer Roger Trettel is slated to receive a $25,000 grant through National Grid's Main Street Revitalization Program to underwrite costs of his planned Cornucopia project at 523 Main St. The funding is being allocated through the Buffalo Urban Development Corp.

"It's a help to the project," said Peter Cammarata, Buffalo Urban Development Corp. president.

BUDC directors, Tuesday morning, approved the pass-through measure for the grant.

Trettel bought the century-old, 18,000-square-foot, three-story building that runs between Main and Washington streets earlier this year. Trettel wants to convert the building's upper two floors into five live-work, styled apartments and its first floor into a mini-boutique for small businesses.

Renovation work on the $500,000 project has a just begun.

The project is the second major conversion to take place on that stretch of Main Street's 500 block. Local restaurateur Don Warfe is renovating a nearby building into a mixed-use development, anchored by upper floor apartments and a first floor restaurant.

Trettel has tackled a number of restoration projects centered on older buildings, including the opening of the Buehl Building on Broadway two years ago.

BUDC directors also agreed to petition National Grid for a grant that could reach $250,000 that will help finance a detailed site plan for the 260-acre Riverbend Commerce Park property. The entire study could cost more than $600,000.

The study will help serve as a development blueprint for the complex that's viewed as a key economic development opportunity for Buffalo and the region.

The Riverbend property runs between the Buffalo River, Tifft Street and portions of Route 5.

A request for qualifications process brought in 25 responses from both local and national developers. That list is being reviewed and BUDC officials hope to have a development team identified by September.