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Officials announce $14 million in tax credits to Buffalo's Northland Central Redevelopment

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BUFFALO -- Building America, a wholly-owned affiliate of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT), today announced $9 million of New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) for Northland Central, which includes a cutting-edge facility that will annually train 300 local workers to fill quality jobs in the modernized manufacturing sector.  Another $5 million in NMTCs will come from the National Trust Community Investment Corporation (NTCIC).

At a press conference today, Building America was joined by the project sponsor, Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, Western NY AFL-CIO President Richard Lipsitz, Jr., Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, Rep. Brian Higgins (NY-26), HIT Vice Chairman Jack Quinn, and other financing partners in making the announcement at Northland Central.

"The Northland Center symbolizes Governor Cuomo's historic investment in the economic rebirth that has brought jobs, opportunity, and optimism back to Buffalo. The investment in workforce development in Buffalo's East Side will ensure equal opportunity for all residents," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "It also affirms our commitment to building a world-class workforce, ready for the jobs we are creating today and in the future, and we are grateful to Building America for sharing our vision."​

Rep. Higgins praised the NMTC program, a federal initiative that encourages the investment of private equity in community development and economic growth in distressed communities.

"Recently at risk of complete elimination, federal New Markets Tax Credits will help make the Northland Central project possible and give Buffalo the tools to do what it does best – reimagine our future by building on our unique strengths and history," said Congressman Higgins. "Ours is a community that wears proudly a strong work ethic and Northland Central will provide residents the skills and training necessary to fill the high-demand jobs of today and tomorrow. This commitment by Building America and its funders through the federal New Markets Tax Credit program represents an investment in our neighborhoods, investment in our people, and investment in our future."

In addition to the NMTCs, other investors in the training center include New York Power Authority, Citi Community Capital and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's Buffalo Billion program, which plans to invest $1.5 billion in the area economy. "Citi is thrilled to be part of this transformative public-private partnership that utilizes state and local resources, federal programs including New Markets Tax Credits and Historic Tax Credits, and private capital to reinvigorate this community," said Jacob Zlotoff, Director, Citi Community Capital. "The jobs that it will create and sustain, and the opportunities they provide, will benefit not only those who participate directly, but the entire city as well."

Mr. Quinn, who held the NY-26 congressional seat from 1993-2005, was instrumental in bringing Building America to the project. Erie Community College, where Mr. Quinn served as President from 2008-2017, is providing educational staff and curriculum to the workforce training center.

"The Northland Workforce Training Center promises quality education, quality jobs and quality service to the city's workforce," said Mr. Quinn. "Building America is a natural partner on this project given its commitment to bringing jobs and services to severely distressed communities."

The Northland Workforce Training Center, located at 683 Northland Avenue in Buffalo, will reuse part of a historic vacant industrial complex and serve as an anchor for the broader Northland Central project. Approximately 93,000 square feet of the 240,000-square-foot building will be used for the training center. The center is expected to create an estimated 329 union construction jobs, as well as another 69 new positions, while retaining 124 permanent jobs in management, counseling, administration, faculty, building operations, maintenance and security. There is a 30 percent local hiring requirement and up to 20 low-income residents will be accepted into the Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program.

Once completed, workers will be trained at the center for entry-level operator jobs in machinery, welding, transformers and other positions.

"We are investing in the future of America, and that future begins here in Buffalo. The first solar roof tile manufacturing started here just last month, and Northland Central is the key to a skilled and trained workforce for cutting-edge efforts like that," said Ted Chandler, HIT's Chief Operating Officer, who noted that in 2013 Building America committed over $9.2 million in NMTCs toward Roswell Parks' Clinical Sciences Center.

"We are proud to help make the Northland Central project a reality," said Buford Sears, KeyBank's WNY Market President. "KeyBank believes in this project, Buffalo's workforce, and Buffalo's future. This investment will help Buffalo thrive for generations to come.''

Michael Phillips, Public Policy Manager at NTCIC says that Northland Central will be more than a rehabilitated historic building. "It is estimated that 300 low-income persons annually will be positively impacted by the programs offered at the Northland Workforce Training Center," says Phillips. "Of the anticipated construction jobs, 30% will be dedicated to local residents, 25% to minorities and 5% specifically to women. We are honored to be a part of this impactful project."

Since it was formed in 2010, Building America has allocated $117.5 million of New Markets Tax Credits to 15 projects across the US. As an affiliate of parent company AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT), Building America works to create economic empowerment and opportunity, bringing jobs and services to severely distressed communities. More information is available on the Building America website, www.buildingamericacde.com