Historic Tax Credits Bring Back Vacant Downtown Block

July 19, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 4:03 PM EDT

By WKBW News

July 19, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 4:03 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW-TV) - A bill that would raise tax credits for developers working on historic properties continues to await the governor's signature.

However one downtown complex has been reborn with the help of the credits.

"this has been sort of a symbol of buffalo's decline for a very long time," says Partner for Genesee Gateway Doug Swift.

This block of Genesee street between Oak and Ellicott for years has been the eyesore welcoming visitors to Buffalo but now things are different.

"It's become a symbol of what buffalo could become," says Swift.

The complex of buildings which date back to the late 1800s now have new life as mixed use space.

"We have a couple of consulting firms, we're putting in a few apartments on the 2nd floor of the east end of the building, we have one retail space left and we hope to attract a nice destination restaurant," says Swift.

He says the project would have been extremely challenging to do without the historic tax credits and adds that if the governor approves legislation allowing them to increase from 5 million to 12 million dollars you'll see other project commence.

"If we're more than doubling it you're going to be able to tap into bigger projects that have a real impact," Swift says.

He's talking more on the lines of the long vacant AM&A's flagship store on Main street that developer Rocco Termini is eyeing to bring back to life.
State Senator Mark Grisanti remains cautiously optimistic.

"Very significant not only for here but across the state," Grisanti says. "I think the governor gets that so hopefully we hear something in the next 30 days or so."

The bill has currently passed both the Assembly and Senate awaiting the governor's signature. Once he receives it, he'll have 10 days to consider it.