Gain direct knowledge and hands-on experience to redevelop your commercial property—and make it profitable. Learn about the things that matter in real estate development—from financing a project, to permitting and approvals, to design and construction. Connect with instructors, mentors and other real estate development professionals that can guide you through challenges and opportunities particular to your commercial property. Be part of a group of community developers ready to keep Buffalo’s East Side commercial districts moving forward.

Applications must be received by Friday, February 21, 2020 at 5:00pm ET.

Any Erie County resident, 18 years or older, with a high school diploma or equivalent is eligible to apply. Overall, students will be selected based on their likelihood of successfully developing a commercial or mixed-use (residential and commercial) property on the East Side after completing the training program.

Applicants will be reviewed based on the following criteria: residency, commercial property ownership, development experience, vision for commercial property development, entrepreneurship, and impact. See Program Guidelines and FAQs for more details.

Program Intent
The Community-Based Real Estate Development Training Program will empower community members with the skills and know-how to plan for and implement redevelopment of their own commercial property and/or vacant or under-used parcels. The program is intended to ensure that land and buildings along the East Side corridors are improved for productive use, in a manner driven by the community, and less likely to fall into the hands of absentee landlords and/or sit unused as blighting influences. The goal is to build a community of citizen developers interested and equipped to take an active role in revitalizing their neighborhoods.
Program Completion
This is an adult education program and is completely non-credit bearing. Students who successfully complete the training program will receive a Certificate of Completion and be invited to participate in the Completion Ceremony in August 2020.
Course Overview

The 19-week program starts Wednesday, April 22, 2020 and is designed to provide 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. The course includes weekly classroom instruction by experienced professionals at the Northland Workforce Training Center. There will be four (4) Saturday sessions, of which one, UrbanPlan on May 2, 2020, is mandatory. Attendance at the three (3) remaining Saturday sessions is strongly encouraged, but not required. These sessions will hone in on technical skills and provide students with unique opportunities for field study focused on Buffalo’s East Side.

Participant Requirements

Applicants accepted into the program are expected to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Actively participate in 19 weeks of classroom instruction. Attendance will be taken at all classes. Requests for excused absences should be submitted to the program administrator in advance. STUDENTS WITH MORE THAN TWO UNEXCUSED ABSENCES WILL BE DROPPED FROM THE PROGRAM.
  • Attend the UrbanPlan class session on Saturday, May 2, 2020.
  • Meet with an assigned mentor for at least one hour per month.
  • Successfully complete a final class project (may be a team project or an individual project).
Program Fee

There is no fee to apply to the program. However, if you are accepted into the program, there is a one-time non-refundable $250 registration fee. Other costs, including tuition and books, valued approximately at $1,800 per student, are covered through a partnership of local private foundations and corporations.

Application Process
All candidates interested in participating in the 2020 Community-Based Real Estate Development Training Program must participate in a two-step application and interview process. There is no fee to apply.

Step 1: Complete an application in one of two ways:

  • For online applicants: Use this link to complete an electronic form
  • For paper applicants: Applications can be downloaded and printed from this PDF. Completed paper applications can be returned by:

    Mail to:

    Chiwuike Owunwanne
    University at Buffalo Regional Institute
    UB Downtown Gateway
    77 Goodell Street, Suite 302
    Buffalo, NY 14203  OR

    Scan and email to: Chiwuike@buffalo.edu

Applications must be received by Friday, February 21, 2020 at 5:00pm ET.

Step 2:
After review, selected applicants will be invited for an in-person interview during the week of March 9 – 13, 2020. Applicants will be required to bring a current resume to the interview.

Selection and Notification
Classes are limited to 20 students. This is a competitive application process and not all applicants will be accepted.

Applicants will be notified of their acceptance into the program by March 20, 2020. Accepted applicants must pay a one-time non-refundable $250 registration fee.

The registration fee must be received by April 10, 2020 to reserve a seat in the class.

Program Schedule and Key Dates
February 21, 2020 Applications Due
March 9 – 13, 2020 Interviews of selected applicants
March 16 – 20, 2020 Notification of acceptance
April 10, 2020 Registration fee due
April 22, 2020 Classes begin
August 17 – 21, 2020 Final project presentations
August 26, 2020 Completion Ceremony
Contact Information

Any questions regarding Community-Based Real Estate Development Training should be sent to Chiwuike (Chi-Chi) Owunwanne or 716-878-2434.

The Community-Based Real Estate Development Training Program was developed through collaboration of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo Regional Institute (UBRI), Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Empire State Development (ESD), and the City of Buffalo.