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ECGRA launches Anchor Building Program to Support Adaptive Re-Use of Historic, Culturally Significant Buildings

Posted on April 19th, 2018 at 1:05 PM
ECGRA launches Anchor Building Program to Support Adaptive Re-Use of Historic, Culturally Significant Buildings

Set in the backdrop of the 119-year-old Performing Artists Collective Alliance (PACA) building in the heart of the State Street corridor, the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority (ECGRA) hosted a roundtable discussion today focused on the adaptive re-use of historically and culturally significant buildings, Anchor Buildings.

The Anchor Building Grant Program is desinged to be a part of the financing structure necessary to launch re-use development of the marquee buildings, preserving and adapting them to once again become viable businesses, community and cultural centers, and/or residential dwellings that support the local tax base.

"An Anchor Building defines a locale and is special from an architectural, historical, and cultural perspective," Perry Wood, Executive Director, ECGRA. "You can see Anchor Buildings all over the county; here in the city of Erie and in places like Corry, North East, and Waterford.  They unmistakably serve as an anchor or architectural center to the communities they once thrived in.

"ECGRA's Anchor Building grant program is focused on the adaptive re-use of these historic buidlings located in the commercial core of Erie County communities that were once the beating heart of a neighborhood that with an investment can still be brought back to life."

The PACA building, built in 1899, is an illustration of an Anchor Building that might benefit from the grant program.  The adaptive re-use of Anchor Buildings supports identified goals in the Erie County Cultural Heritage Plan, an element of the Erie County Comprehensive Plan.  It identifies a general framework to build capacity to support preservation, promote stewardship of historic and cultural assets, and increase public awareness  and community pride in these irreplaceable resources.

"A single building's renaissance can spur an entire neighborhood's resurgence," said County Council Chairperson, Dr. Kyle Foust.  "Preservation and restoration efforts across the country have proven that when we connect a neighborhood's past with it's future, we can spur economic development and community pride."

Relatively high construction costs due to new building code requirements, lack of financial resources, or low appraisal values often times leaves an Anchor Building undesireable to developers.  ECGRA funding can serve as a vital part of the financing structure to bridge the gap, boost the real estate market, assist in developing equity, and enhance the quality of place.

"Once a building is demolished, it is gone forever," said City Councilmember Liz Allen, Preservation Erie Board of Directors.  "When a community restores and repurposes a historic building back to its natural glory, it breathes life back into the entire community.  Preserving Erie County's historic past through investment in Anchor Buildings program builds community pride and brings long-abandoned buildings back on the tax rolls."

Eligibility Criteria:

•   an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) or a municipal authority

•   headquartered in Erie County

•   in good standing with the IRS and state and local bodies

•   in good standing with ECGRA's reproting requirements to date

•   requires a 1 - 1 cash match