Economic Developments in Buffalo, NY

Jon Purizhansky says that Buffalo international airport is busy. “When we first opened the airport in 1997, we were doing about 3 million passengers a year, and now we’re doing 5 million passengers a year. So, we need the additional space downstairs in the baggage claim area to make a better experience for our visitors in Western New York,” said NFTA Director of Aviation Bill Vanecek. The airport is currently undergoing an 80 million enhancement project. Some of the improvements include the building of two new exiting concourses to ease congestion at the security checkpoint. The baggage claim area will also be 50 percent bigger and includes the addition of four new baggage return belts.

Economic Developments

The airport, however, is not the only development underway in Buffalo. Jon Purizhansky says that there is no shortage of new construction and renovation activity heading toward completion in 2019 and beyond. Large projects have been completed at HarborCenter at Canalside, RiverBend in South Buffalo, the Delaware North Building at 250 Delaware, and the new Convent us Building, Oishei Children’s Hospital and University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and Ellicott Development Co. has launched the 500 Pearl project, a very cool 12-story downtown tower with a new hotel, apartments, office space, retail space and even a bowling alley.

Washington, D.C., developer Douglas Jemal last year kicked off his $120 million remake of the Seneca One Tower, which is Buffalo’s tallest building. The Buffalo Urban Development Corp. is investing over $120 million in the Northland Project, which is turning a 35-acre swath of industrial land on the Buffalo’s East Side into a light-industrial economic development hub that will bring jobs and investment to the poorest neighborhood in Buffalo.

Stuart Alexander & Associates and Rhonda Ricks are spending $50.7 million to convert the vacant former Buffalo Forge Manufacturing Co. plant at 490 Broadway into a new residential community, with 158 affordable apartments and some retail space in the two-building main complex. LP Ciminelli is also continuing work on its $90 million remake of the 27-acre former Central Park Plaza site into a new residential community, dubbed Highland Park, with more than 663 new apartments, town homes and for-sale homes. Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. is finalizing its proposal for 201 Ellicott St., where it wants to construct a multistory building with 201 affordable apartments and an unspecified fresh-food market, but not a previously proposed parking facility. The mayor of Buffalo says that “This has been an incredible decade of growth, development and progress in the City of Buffalo. It is a special time in our City’s history – we are in the midst of a transformation that will be felt for generations to come.”

Jon Purizhansky says that Buffalo is no longer a depressed rust belt town, but is now a bustling city in New York flushed with new investment capital that features many new projects and that is now home to a great deal of entrepreneurs and young professionals and is well on its way to become a major economic hub.

Things to do in Buffalo, NY

Jon Purizhansky says that Buffalo, NY has become a real tourist attraction lately. It is seeing a movement to preserve a number of historical buildings, including the works of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who has several famous homes in the Buffalo area. One can set sail on the Spirit of Buffalo for a scenic day cruise or evening sunset sail. Buffalo is also the gateway to the Niagara Falls, a globally known landmark.  Niagara State Park is America’s oldest, and each year tourists make the short drive from Buffalo to watch more than 750,000 gallons rush over the edge each second.

Jon Purizhansky also notices Niagara Wine Trail as a great wine trail. There are many wineries on the wine trail that are open to the public for tastings and tours.   

The micro-climate around the Great Lakes allows for the production of fine wines including Riesling, Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and ice wines. There are currently 19 wineries in the Greater Buffalo area and plenty of B&Bs, restaurants, and bars. Buffalo is also home to Ralph Wilson Stadium, the only professional NFL football stadium in New York State and to the third oldest zoo in the United States, which hosts wild species from around the world and is a participant in global conservation efforts.

More than 1,000 animals are housed at the Buffalo Zoo that includes some of the rarest animals in the world. There are many great parks in and around Buffalo, including the Eternal Flame Falls, where the eternal flame is supported by natural gas seeps that break through the earth’s surface. Another great Buffalo area attraction is Fort Niagara, which sits on the head of the Niagara River. First held by General La Salle and his French troops in 1678, the fort eventually was a stronghold for both the British and Americans.

Jon Purizhansky says that Buffalo is also home to the bustling urban cultural scene. Founded in 1862, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is among the world’s leading collections of international sculptures and paintings, including works by Picasso, Renoir, Monet, Matisse, and Van Gogh. There are many other galleries, including Burchfield Penney Art Center with its outstanding collection of regional art. Most galleries are located in the Elmwood Village neighborhood of Buffalo.

The Elmwood Village was named by the American Planning Association as one of the country’s 10 best neighborhoods and boasts some of the city’s most popular boutiques, bars, and restaurants. Elmwood Village has been Buffalo’s “cool” neighborhood since before it had any real competition for that title. Now, however, there is a number of up-and-coming districts in Buffalo that include Hertel Avenue, Allentown, and a resurgent downtown, all full of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. These attractions and much more make Buffalo a great place to visit any time of the year.

The Re-Emergence of Buffalo, NY

The Sunday Times of London, UK recently called Buffalo, NY “America’s coolest summer city” ( ). According to Jon Purizhansky, Buffalo, NY has gone through an unbelievable turn around from being a backward Rust Belt town to a successful urban center full of talent, culture, and entrepreneurship, not to mention the sports.

Jon Purizhansky says that Buffalo has seen billions of dollars of investments in Buffalo’s future. New York State pledged a Billion dollars through its Buffalo Billion initiative, which developed an organization called 43North that awards funds to entrepreneurs through an annual competition. This has catalyzed the development of a budding technology entrepreneurship scene in Buffalo.

When you visit the innovation center on Elicott Street downtown Buffalo and you see all the young technology entrepreneurs turning ideas into businesses, you see no difference between Buffalo, Boston or the Silicon Valley. The ambiance is the same – it’s energy, its confidence, it’s about building new things and it’s about the new Buffalo.

Another sign that the region has changed, according to Jon Purizhansky, is the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC), a collaboration between several downtown institutions, including Kaleida Health, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, University at Buffalo, and Upstate New York Transplant Services (Unyts). Since the commencement of operations, BNMC has created tens of thousands of jobs and entire neighborhoods that surround the BNMC have been revitalized, a truly remarkable development.

Jon Purizhansky also mentions the START-UP NY initiative, which has been launched as an incentive for entrepreneurs and small business owners to bring their business to New York State and operate tax-free for 10 years. Since the program’s beginning, over 70 companies have come to Greater Buffalo. This has not only resulted in many new jobs but has also led to an influx of millennials into the city of Buffalo.

Young professionals are now attracted to Buffalo by its hip urban environment combined with a relatively low cost of living. Since 2000, the number of college grads ages 25-34 living within a 3-mile radius of downtown Buffalo has risen 34%, one of the highest percentages among the country’s largest metro areas. So, according to Jon Purizhansky, not only Buffalo became full of opportunities for the youngest members of the workforce, it’s an affordable and desirable place to live, too.

To conclude, Jon Purizhansky says that Buffalo is not only rising up but may rather be in the path to its old glory, when it was one of the largest and most prosperous cities in the United States of America.

Rapprochement between Israel and Gulf States

The political landscape in the Middle East has gone through astonishing changes over the last 10 years. Every Arab country in the world used to be Israel’s enemy. According to Jon Purizhansky, it is no longer the case. Gulf monarchies have not only become Israel’s strategic allies but have come out in the open by proclaiming that peace with Israel will create nothing but benefits for their constituents.

More recent diplomatic exposure has brought the relationship between Israel and the Arab States out into the open and has signaled that the establishment of formal relations is just around the corner for the first time. Jon Purizhansky says that this development will not only change the Middle East – it will change the entire world

Recently, Israeli political leaders have held much-publicized meetings with the governments of Bahrain and Oman. There is talk about establishing formal relationships with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Jon Purizhansky says that the Iranian threat coupled with excessive regional instability and the mistrust between various nation-states in the neighborhood is driving this development forward.

Israel stands to benefit in countless ways from the alliance. Israel is constantly criticized for mistreating the Palestinians by the liberal West and by the Palestinians themselves. Clear demonstration of alliance and friendship between Israel and its non-Palestinian Arab neighbors destroys the flawed premise on which the anti-Israeli propaganda is built. Any reasonable person would conclude that “if the Arab States that lost land in wars with Israel even before the term “Palestinian” had been created want to be Israel’s friends now, then why can’t Palestinians do the same?” The growing alliance with the Arab states also points to the fact that Israeli strategic policies have worked.

If the Israeli government can show that the wealthy Arab countries of the region are willing to normalize relations with Israel despite continued settlement building in the West Bank and no peace on the horizon with Palestinians, then the criticism of Netanyahu holds no water, and he will have been proven right—at least in the medium term.

Jon Purizhansky points to Neganyahu’s recent statement that while other Israeli leaders had tried to bridge the relationship with the Arab and Muslim world through “concessions” to the Palestinians, he had adamantly refused to do so. “We believe in peace out of strength,” Netanyahu countered. “We believe in alliances born out of Israel’s value as a technological, financial, defense, and intelligence powerhouse.”

Jon Purizhansky identifies three premises on which the alliance between Israel and the Gulf States is based.

The first premise is Iran, the danger Iran’s policies pose in the neighborhood and the geopolitics of the Middle East after 2011.

Israel does not have to face Iran alone now. The Islamic Republic is a regional threat, giving Israel more legitimacy in how it responds.

The second premise is Israel’s ability to provide the Gulf states with most developed security systems, thereby ensuring that current ruling families will continue to rule.

The third premise according to Jon Purizhansky is Israel’s close relationship with the United States. By positioning themselves as Israel’s partners, the Gulf States will be able to score in Washington. They will also be able to link their own security with Israel’s security in the eyes of the US Government.

Jon Purizhansky says that although Israel is highly unpopular on the Palestinian street, inevitably Palestinians stand to benefit economically in many ways from the new Israeli/Gulf States alliance. There will be investments and jobs will be created on the Palestinian Territories. Absent force major circumstances, which are so common in the Middle East, economic prosperity will create a stronger desire for peace amongst the Palestinian masses. Undoubtedly, it will take years, but the Israel/Gulf States alliance is the sign of things to come – much waited for peace and prosperity in the Middle East.