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Buffalo Restaurateur Mark Croce's Downtown Buffalo Hotel Project Receives
 a $1.35 million Grant from the State of New York's Empire
 State Development Corporation

By George Pyle, The Buffalo News, N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

February 20, 2010 - --A downtown Buffalo hotel project was one of 10 applicants to receive financial assistance Friday from the state of New York's Empire State Development Corporation.

A $1.35 million grant from the corporation's Restore New York Communities Initiative was approved for work on the Curtiss Building, at the corner of Franklin and Huron streets, and some surrounding properties that have been acquired by Buffalo restaurateur Mark Croce. He has drawn up an $18 million plan to refurbish the 98-year-old property, most recently an office building, and its neighboring lots into an upscale hotel and restaurant.

It is the second state award for the Curtiss rehabilitation. Last month, ESDC reached into a different pot of state money, the Upstate New York Regional Blueprint, for a $3.15 million grant to go toward the same project.

The funds are to go toward asbestos removal, demolition of neighboring structures, rehabilitation of the 57,000-square-foot, six-story Curtiss and the addition of 11,000 square feet to be used as an entrance and banquet facility.

ESDC documents noted that the building is vacant and that the project would go a long way toward reclaiming a blighted neighborhood, a goal of the state funding programs.

The Curtiss grant was among $7.7 million in grants approved Friday for projects scattered from Buffalo in the west to Suffolk County in the east. Altogether, the public and private developments will create 188 new jobs, retain 407 others and leverage $32 million in private investment.

The grants were approved by unanimous vote of the ESDC board, which met in New York City.


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