$5MM in Poverty-Reduction Funds to Statler?

24 Mar

Poverty Reducer

Local restaurateur, developer, parking lot owner, and friend-of-Byron’s Mark Croce famously announced that he would commence an incremental rehabilitation of the Statler Towers. For the time being, only the first two floors will be rehabbed to re-enable the ballrooms to be used for events. The upper floors will be rehabbed as the market demands. The deal amazingly closed for only $700,000; in order to make the Statler commercially viable, he will have to repair of the exterior details, many of which have decided to plummet to the ground in recent years.

In order to do that, Croce has applied for a $5.3 million grant from the City of Buffalo, which would likely come from its Community Development Block Grant funding. That money, however, arises out of a HUD program to provide affordable housing and jobs for poverty prevention. Its purpose is to directly benefit low and middle-income people and reduce neighborhood blight. What that has to do with rehabilitating a millionaire’s $700,000 hotel rehab is beyond me.

Add to that the fact that it was announced just yesterday that a Croce LLC just closed on a $1.2 million Orchard Park mansion. I’m sure congress had in mind that CDBG money would go to help develop a crumbling downtown hotel owned by someone who can afford to plunk down $1.2 MM for a nice 12,800 SF house in a tony suburb. Right?

8 Responses to “$5MM in Poverty-Reduction Funds to Statler?”

  1. Hapklein at 7:08 am #

    When I saw the Mayor jump into this circus I wondered where ever in the world the money could arise from.
    I should have known – poverty the source of the Statler salvation is the millions that was supposed to relieve the wretched grinding of poverty.
    Obviously renovating the ballrooms for coming out parties for the urban population is the long term plan and they can always be used for Christenings and such as the dynamics of building buildings and ignoring social dynamics takes hold.
    Heck that organizer of the parites at the City grill has endless possibilities in the Statler and they could have seven or eight celebrations taking place simultaneously.
    Just imagine the possibilities.
    I hope they build a metro rail to connect the Statler and the Central Terminal like that shuttle in Las Vegas. Oh! the possibilities of using poverty as a leverage to a bette future are endless

  2. wolfpack at 11:32 am #

    “The CDBG entitlement program allocates annual grants to larger cities and urban counties to develop viable communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and opportunities to expand economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.”

    If the venture is potentially a revenue producer as restaurants and parking, then HUD has a 108 loan program, the ECIDA and ESDC may provide funding as well. The term is “loan” not “grant” and one might ask, do we have enough hotel rooms?

  3. lefty at 2:48 pm #

    If someone can point out where HUD funds have been used productively in Buffalo over the last 50 years…the questioning of HUD funds being used on the Statler would hold more weight.

    Not saying I am a fan of the funds being used at all.  But rather, why stop the tradition of misuse now?

    What the city should have done is put the $5m into the building before they sold it and then put it on the market for everyone.  Odds are it would have gotten that money back from the sale.  At the very least it would have had the opportunity to do so.

    Regardless, the biggest backing for Brown comes from the communities that are ‘supposed’ to get these funds.  They put him in charge and allowed him to do this.

    Elections have consequences.  🙂

  4. Brian Castner at 2:58 pm #

    @ lefty – Your idea of how and when the city should have invested in the Statler (if you trust the city at all) makes sense based on objective facts. However, this Statler make over is really all about making it look nice for the Big Important Conference in October, and putting on a pretty face for the preservationists. The city-based schedule would not have allowed the lowest level of the Statler to be open in time for autumn tea.

  5. Brian Wood at 3:51 pm #

    This is America.  If you’re rich, you can get on welfare.  Poor?  Maybe.

  6. mark at 6:33 pm #

    At the risk of sounding sophomoric: Mark Croce is a tool.

  7. wolfpack at 9:44 am #

    The Ani DeFranco house of music received millions for their profit-making ventures. Their claim, like the Statler is that they are within a half mile from neighborhoods that qualify. None of the folks who live in those neighborhoods work at or buy tickets to events at Fisher-ville

  8. Hapklein at 7:11 am #

    II thought the Ani De Franco edifice was built to accommodate Amherst and Clarence residents for their annual symbolic venture to downtown Buffalo.

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