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State grant to revitalize Main Street sites in North Tonawanda gets public hearing 6 p.m. Tuesday

State grant to revitalize Main Street sites in North Tonawanda gets public hearing 6 p.m. Tuesday

by Joseph KisselSeptember 23, 2016

Two downtown NT properties, 22 and 221 Main Street, are seeking council approval for a Restore NY grant that will see their revitalization.

The razed site at 22 Main Street is the former Pirson Auto Parts and it will be developed into a “mixed-use” building with retail/commercial on the first floor and apartments on the second and third.


221 Main Street, where KCB Architecture and Joy Kuebler Landscape Architects hope to move their offices.

221 Main Street will be the new home of KCB Architecture — located currently in Wheatfield — and Joy Kuebler Landscape Architects, which operates on Zimmerman Street.

The project hinges on grant funding from Empire State Development’s Restore NY grant program.

Michael Zimmerman of Lumber City Development Corp. recently spoke to the council regarding the state grant, which as a municipality they need to approve.

“North Tonawanda’s Municipal Commercial Redevelopment Project received $500,200 for demolishing the city’s former incinerator and creating a new commercial corridor on Erie Avenue,” Zimmerman said.

“But it can also be used to redevelop, for reconstruction and rehabilitation of vacant buildings or blighted properties,” he said.


Michael Zimmerman, head of Lumber City Development Corp., center, presents his choices for the Restore NY grant to the NT council during a recent work session.

“We are eligible to apply for up to $500,000. Multiple properties can be included in one application, but they have to be tied together in a certain way. So we got together with the mayor a couple of times to discuss all the different possibilities and bat around different ideas. The best opportunity likely to get funding would be application for grant funds for two properties in the downtown area. 22 Main Street and 211 Main Street. They are both privately owned but they both fit the description of vacant or blighted properties.”

“22 Main Street is the former Pirson Auto Building. The owner is currently working on Phase 1 of the development. This would assist in Phase Two of the development.”

“The 211 Main Street, which is on the other end of Main, out by Thompson. This is a vacant brick-building lumber-warehouse storage yard. It was Esso Lumber.”

“The reason they were picked over the other options was that this met most of the criteria that Empire State Development was looking for. This was most likely to be funded. Downtown area, brownfield opportunity area, vacant.”

“We have other properties that would have met those criteria, but these properties have redevelopment projects — financial pro forma, concept plans, renderings — already in process.”

Zimmerman said no city money would be necessary — only their approval — to apply for the grant.

The public hearing will take place at North Tonawanda City Hall 6 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 27) in the second-floor meeting room.

About The Author
Joseph Kissel
Joseph Kissel is a journalist, editor and photographer. He is also the Vice President of the New York Coalition for Open Government, a non-partisan, non-profit group that advocates for transparency and the public's right to freedom of information.