If the Erie County Industrial Development Agency was looking to its next door neighbor, Enterprise Charter School, as a possible candidate to buy its building, it appears that option has been taken off the table.
Citing financial concerns, Jill Norton, Enterprise Charter School executive director, said buying the 11,000-square-foot Oak Street building owned by the ECIDA is "not financially feasible for the school right now."
The county IDA is considering moving its offices to a building at 95 Perry St. in Buffalo's Cobblestone District. The move, if it happens, would put the ECIDA, Buffalo Urban Development Corp. and BiNational Tourism and Economic Development Alliance under the same roof and same offices where the regional Empire State Development Corp. staff sits. The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. also occupies the same offices.
The move would create a one-stop, economic development center.
ECIDA directors, last month, approved a measure to begin investigating the possible move including determining if there were cost savings and any potential buyer or tenants for its current space.
Enterprise Charter School bought the bulk of the Oak Street building that neighbors the ECIDA offices three years ago. The school, which is awaiting a renewal from the New York State Department of Education, has recently seen its rating from Fitch Bond Ratings drop from BBB to BBB-.
Al Culliton, ECIDA chief operating officer, said he is aware that Enterprise Charter School is no longer a likely suitor to either buy or lease the agency's offices.
"It doesn't throw any kind of monkey wrench into our plans," Culliton said. "At this point, all we've said is that we approve, in concept only, a possible move."
The ECIDA has issued an RFP for real estate services connected with the possible move and finding either a buyer or tenant for its building. The full ECIDA board is expected to review the possible move when it meets on March 25.