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Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown delivers 2020 'State of the City' address

Posted at 7:15 PM, Feb 20, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The City of Buffalo is looking to become a city known for its innovation, labeling the decade as “our roaring twenties.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown used the new decade as his theme for the annual State of the City address.

A record number of people attended the speech at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center on Thursday.

Mayor Brown outlined a vision for what’s next and initiatives to make Buffalo perform as a “smart city.” He says M&T Bank is ready to bring 1,500 technology workers to the once-vacant Seneca One Tower.

The mayor focused on infrastructure and housing in his speech.

“We want to make sure that Buffalo is the address of choice for people who will be working at Seneca One Downtown Buffalo,” says Mayor Brown.

Developer Doug Jemal joined the mayor, saying apartments in the tower are ready, but will not be opened until construction is complete.

7 Eyewitness News asked Jemal if he would reveal rental prices for the apartments, but he wasn’t ready to make that public.

“I don’t even know what the price is going to be because the market is really going to be the market. I’m more interested in the big picture of the city than if the price is $100 more a month or $100 less a month,” state Jemal.

The mayor also announced the owner of the Main Place Mall, which is currently lined with empty storefronts, will transform it into a state-of-the-art office building.

The Mayor is pleased the Main Place Mall will finally be transformed.

“Many people see the old Main Place Mall as part of the old Buffalo,” said Mayor Brown.

Experts from around the country are expected to be in Buffalo soon to discuss new transportation options, according to the mayor’s office.

In the address, the mayor stated that the city is looking to roll out a plan to build 2,100 new affordable housing units on Main Street.

Mayor Brown also honored the memory of Buffalo developer Mark Croce, who was killed in a helicopter crash in January, during his address. The Mayor talked about Croce’s work and commitment to city development. This spring Mayor Brown said they will rename a section of West Genesee Street between Niagara Square and Franklin Street as “Croce Street”.

The Mayor also honored the long-time community leader, 78-year-old Agnes Bain, who died at the end of January. She was the executive director of the African American Cultural Center in Buffalo. She is remembered for her education and the community. The Mayor delivered one of the city’s highest honor in giving a “Key to the City” in Bain’s memory.