October 10, 2014

Gillibrand, Higgins Announce Historic Preservation Certification For HH Richardson Complex

Approval Makes Complex Eligible for $10 Million in Historic Tax Credits, with Potential for Hundreds of Construction Jobs and up to 75 Full-Time Jobs

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins announced that the federal Department of Interior is awarding the HH Richardson Complex a Historic Preservation Certificate. They had urged the Secretary of the federal Department of Interior in a letter to approve the Richardson Center Corporation’s application for this major award.

With the Department of Interior’s approval, this project is now eligible for up to $10M in federal historic tax credits. The corporation spent over $10M on Phase I and II stabilization projects for the 140-year old HH Richardson Complex and is now ready to move forward with a project to bring a hotel, event and conference space, and a Buffalo Architecture Center to the former state hospital and historic landmark. With the new federal tax credits, this project will create an additional 75 permanent jobs and hundreds of construction jobs.

“This is an outstanding development for Buffalo’s ongoing urban renewal efforts,” said Senator Gillibrand. “It will create new jobs for Buffalo’s workforce, and it will inspire other cities to think innovatively about their development. The Richardson Complex is already an architectural landmark in Western New York, and now with this Historic Preservation Certificate, it will soon be a commercial and cultural landmark for the region as well.”

"The Richardson Complex is sewn into Buffalo's rich architectural and historical fabric," said Congressman Higgins.  "We have witnessed the rise of Western New York as we embrace characteristics that are uniquely ours.  This federal commitment allows us to continue to build tourism and economic growth by investing in pieces of our past that provide opportunities well into our future."

“Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and Representative Higgins have long believed in the reuse of this treasured landmark,” said Monica Pellegrino Faix, Executive Director of the Richardson Center Corporation. “We appreciate their efforts to secure the federal historic tax credits.  Paired with the state funding we are able to undertake the first phase of reuse that will breathe life into one of our historic assets”. 

The Historic Preservation Certification will help preserve the Richardson Olmsted Complex, which is already a national architectural treasure, and also help advance a plan to re-develop the building into a hotel, event and conference center, and Buffalo Architecture Center. The Richardson Center Corporation has already invested heavily in making improvements to the buildings and grounds, and they have worked closely with the community to devise a redevelopment plan that will greatly enhance tourism, recreation, and the economy of the local community.

Federal historic rehabilitation tax credits are available for any qualified project that the Secretary of the Interior designates as a certified rehabilitation of a certified historic structure. The Historic Tax Credit has been instrumental in boosting the local economy of cities, towns and rural communities as it rewards developers who rehabilitate underused historic spaces for new businesses to use and attract new jobs.

The letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is below:

Dear Secretary Jewell:

We write today on behalf of the Richardson Complex Corporation’s Historic Preservation Certification Application, Part 2.  We urge you to quickly approve this application, which will not only help preserve the Richardson Olmsted Complex in Buffalo – a true national treasure – but which will also help advance a plan to re-develop the building into a hotel, event and conference center, and Buffalo Architecture Center.

The Richardson Center Corporation has already invested heavily in stabilization projects and in improvements to the buildings and grounds. In addition, they have worked closely with the local community, including the Richardson Complex Corporation’s Community Advisory Group, and ten public meetings, to come up with a redevelopment plan that provides both community development and improvement, and builds on Richardson’s vision for the building and Olmsted’s vision for the grounds. The resulting project is one that will greatly enhance the tourism, recreation, and economy of the local community and help to restore this grand building.

Buffalo is famous for its renowned architecture and the project to stabilize and restore this building fits perfectly into that reputation. We urge you to quickly review and approve the application for Historic Preservation Certification so that this important project can move forward. Thank you for your consideration.

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