On November 9, restorations were completed in the Nash Lofts, the future headquarters of the city of Buffalo’s chapter of the NAACP, as part of an Empire State Development project. The headquarters resides within Buffalo’s Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, and according to a press release from the Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office, the $6 million restoration project has created 40,000 square-feet of space and will include 18 new apartments, commercial space, parking and a restaurant.
The $6 million used to build the headquarters was a part of a multi-million dollar investment in the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, which came from the East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund. In total $65 million has been dedicated to the fund as part of Phase II of New York State’s “Buffalo Billion” investment plan.
A report from the office of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli expressed concerns with the “Buffalo Billion” program, but not with this specific project.
The NAACP’s Buffalo headquarters was formerly located at 395 E. Ferry Street. The newly renovated headquarters will be located at the intersection of Broadway and Michigan, at the heart of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. The NAACP headquarters will neighbor the historic Michigan Street Baptist church which was a station of the Underground Railroad, and a meeting place for abolitionists.
Gov. Hochul applauded the project, “The restoration of the Nash Lofts is a key step in strengthening this historic neighborhood.”
The Rev. Mark Blue, president of the Buffalo Chapter of the NAACP, agrees with Hochul. “These renovated historic buildings will remind us of the past but will also allow us to celebrate the future of the vibrant African American Heritage Corridor.”
The designing and construction of the project was led by Carmina Wood Morris, in partnership with developer Roger Trettel of RP Oak Hill as construction manager. To view the Nash Lofts design and floor plan visit here.
The project restores four buildings that have been vacant for more than 15 years. It includes 18 units of mixed-income apartments, a full-service minority and women owned restaurant and cultural space, as well as rentable commercial space, including space specifically designated for minority and women owned businesses and representative tenants of the community.
The project was named after the Rev. Jesse Nash, the pastor of the Michigan Avenue Baptist Church for more than 60 years and a founder of both the Buffalo NAACP chapter in 1915 and the Buffalo Urban League in 1927.