The program is designed to train East Buffalo residents and building owners in commercial real estate development

2023 CBREDT graduates. Pictured: (Back row from left to right) David Petty, Eldred Woodard, Roslyn McLin, LaMont Singletary, Taurean Davis, Da’Von McCune, Erica Huffnagle, Ramona Edwards Griffin, Shawn Hargrove, Hakeem Hicks. (Front row from left to right) Tyrone Goodson, Adamaah Grayse, Dock Mack, Jerrica DeLaney, Hope Knight (President, CEO and Commissioner of Empire State Development), Rosalyn Cheatom, Nikita (Nick) Burt, DaShaun Baldwin, Jomo Akono, Murad Howlader.

July 27, 2023

Empire State Development (ESD) and East Side Avenues today announced the 2023 graduates of the East Side Community-Based Real Estate Development Training (CBREDT) program.  This year’s class, the program’s fourth cohort, graduated in a ceremony on July 26 at the Northland Workforce Training Center in Buffalo. The 19 graduates, all East Buffalo residents, include business and building owners who are interested in taking an active role in revitalizing their community’s commercial corridors. To support their success, program graduates are eligible to apply for ESD’s $5 million Community Based Real Estate Development Training Program Fund (CBREDTP Fund), which offers access to much-needed start-up capital for the program participants’ mixed-use and commercial projects.

“Empire State Development is pleased to support this unique, innovative model that empowers and invests in East Buffalo residents and business owners and provides them with the tools they need to revitalize and rebuild their own community,” said ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight, who gave the graduation keynote. “Through this and other economic development programs, Governor Hochul and East Side Avenues are building paths to prosperity for the residents of East Buffalo.”

The Community-Based Real Estate Development Training program is designed to build a pipeline of citizen developers in East Buffalo by providing community members with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully complete a commercial development project. It is part of New York State’s $65 million East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund and funded in collaboration with private and philanthropic organizations who created a pooled, $8 million East Side Collaborative Fund to support capacity building and to develop and implement programs like this.

The intensive 23-week adult training class, offered annually, provides an overview of the commercial real estate development process, including pre-development, construction management, property management, and financing the project from private and public sources. Participants are selected through a competitive application process and the program is facilitated by the University at Buffalo Regional Institute in collaboration with the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning.

In addition, ESD’s $5 million CBREDTP Fund has three subprograms available only to CBREDT graduates:

  • Pre-Development Fund: provides grants of up to $50,000 to property owners for work to make their projects more feasible such as, but not limited to, consultant costs to prepare business plans and architectural drawings.
  • Small Project Fund: provides grants of up to $150,000 per property for smaller-scale building improvements that may serve to stabilize a property to allow it to be put into productive use or as an initial phase of a redevelopment that can later be scaled up.
  • Real Estate Development Fund: for projects that are larger in size and scope, a program graduate can receive a grant of up to $500,000 to support either a stand-alone, single-site, “shovel ready” renovation/rehabilitation project; or an infill development project on a vacant lot.

About East Side Avenues

East Side Avenues is a capacity-building initiative developed to fund, plan and coordinate revitalization strategies and initiatives aimed at improving economic conditions in four main commercial corridors on Buffalo’s East Side. It is backed by a unique partnership of private and philanthropic organizations that created the pooled, $8 million East Side Collaborative Fund administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The grants and supports are being provided to complement capital funding that is being awarded by ESD as part of its $65 million ESCEDF.

East Side Avenues stemmed from UB Regional Institute’s (UBRI) partnership with ESD and the City of Buffalo to reach out to community members, to listen, analyze past investments, and create a comprehensive plan focused on what key stakeholders said they’d like to see happen and what projects they believe are important for promoting economic activity. East Side Avenues is led by a Project Implementation Team (PIT) from UBRI that will work to build organizational capacity by ensuring appropriate supports such as infrastructure, staff, and funding are in place; assisting with strategic planning, program design, and problem-solving; reporting on progress and ensuring responsible use of resources. UBRI is the research enterprise of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. Learn more about East Side Avenues at www.eastsideavenues.org.

About Empire State Development

ESD is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits, and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

Pamm Lent | pamm.lent@esd.ny.gov | (716) 846-8309 | (716) 560-8815
Laura Magee | laura.magee@esd.ny.gov | (716) 846-8239 | (716) 374-4246