Signature Development Opens the Door to New Chandler Street Incubator Space
Officials from Signature Development celebrated the most recent phase of its Chandler Street revival with grand openings of 27 and 37 Chandler St. These once longabandoned warehouses have been renovated and transformed into approximately 35,000 square feet of workspace for food service companies. To date, Signature Development CEO Rocco Termini said, his company has invested about $50 million to rehab four abandoned buildings on a rejuvenated Chandler Street that had sat dormant and required extensive remediation and rehabilitation.
To aid this initiative, which has transformed Chandler Street into a hub for business startups and an entertainment destination in Buffalo’s historic Black Rock neighborhood, National Grid approved four separate $300,000 economic development grants for a total of $1.2 million. Signature Development used the grant money to offset costs related to abatement, remediation and electricity costs at four buildings: Besides 27 and 37 Chandler St., National Grid provided grants to convert buildings at 155 and 166 Chandler into headquarters for other startups, including Tappo Pizza and Thin Man Brewery. Signature Development also has plans to develop other land parcels on Chandler Street.
Some tenants of the four completed buildings have ties to Buffalo State College’s Student Inc.Ubator program, as well as New York State Development’s Start-Up NY initiative. Inc.Ubator helps students evaluate their business skills, develop plans and learn various aspects of entrepreneurship. Start-Up NY assists new and expanding businesses through tax-based incentives and innovative academic partnerships.
Termini said that he focused on providing new places for startups, because he identified it as a need and an opportunity to help those who need it. “All of these startup companies have most of the tools to be successful businesses,” he said. “The only tool that’s missing is capital that they need for infrastructure, so that they can produce products. What we’ve done is provide that infrastructure.”
Added Termini, “None of this development would have been possible without the help of National Grid, which has made a significant commitment to the redevelopment of Chandler Street and the people who work at the new companies there that call it home. When you’re talking about grants that can help such projects, $1.2 million is a significant amount.” National Grid regional director Ken Kujawa said that the while company is frequently in contact with developers and customers regarding their plans and needs, working with one developer on so many projects on the same street within such a short distance of each other is unique. But whatever the circumstance, he said, the company is always here to listen, provide creative solutions and lend a hand.
“Rocco Termini has earned a reputation as a visionary who sees a vacant building and the opportunities and possibilities that they present,” Kujawa said, adding that the four buildings had sat vacant for a long time and were dumpsites for hazardous waste. “Each project required its own set of challenges, various levels of cleanup, remediation and updated electricity service. And while this neighborhood has become a hot spot for music festivals, dining experiences, the brewery and new workspace, it’s exciting to think about what the future holds for Signature Development and Chandler Street.”
All four grants were made available through National Grid’s Brownfield Redevelopment program, which funds utility-related infrastructure improvements and other costs necessary to progress the redevelopment of a brownfield site or vacant building. More information about National Grid’s economic development programs is available at www.shovelready.com.
“Chandler Street is the latest demonstration of how private sector investment combined with federal historic tax credits are transforming Buffalo neighborhoods,” said Rep. Brian Higgins (NY- 26). Over $7 million in federal historic tax credits and a matching amount from the state are contributing to this Black Rock revival, transforming vacant industrial sites into vibrant, new destinations for restaurants, recreation and today’s jobs.”
“What Signature Development has done on Chandler Street gives us several amazing examples of the types of projects that can be built in the new Buffalo,” said Assemblyman Sean Ryan. “For years the Chandler Street neighborhood was underutilized, but with the investment of Rocco Termini and the support of National Grid, we’ve seen the growth of an amazing area that draws people in from all around western New York. These projects have brought this neighborhood to life and created a vibrant new district that everyone can be proud of.”.