Will Buffalo Rise Once Again?

The village of Buffalo was originally surveyed and laid out for the Holland Land Company in 1804 by Joseph Ellicott. The Holland Land Company had purchased western New York, bounded by the Genessee River to the east, Lake Ontario to the North, the Niagara River and Lake Erie to the west and Pennsylvania to the south. Buffalo of 1830's was a boom town on the Erie Canal.
Buffalo Mayor Brown with Cemil Ozyurt, Editor-in-Chief of TURKOFAMERICA.

Nowadays, Buffalo is the second largest city in the state of New York.  The city itself has a population of 292,648 (2000 Census), and the metropolitan area 1,170,111 (2000 Census), the 46th largest in the United States.

By 1900, Buffalo was the 8th largest city in the country, and went on to become a major railroad hub, the largest grain-milling center in the country, and the home of the largest steel-making operation in the world. The latter part of the 20th Century saw a reversal of fortunes: by the year 1990 the city had fallen back below its 1900 population levels. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown answered TURKOFAMERICA's questions.

Can you tell us the five main reasons businessmen should invest in Buffalo?
Buffalo is very close to other major American cities. Also, in the past three years, we have reduced our property tax burden. Residential and commercial taxes have been lowered. Buffalo is known for its good neighbors. We have extremely warm, welcoming people in this community. Buffalo is an international city in many ways. When you look at our public schools, there are over 60 languages spoken in the public schools of Buffalo. The final thing is that real estate values are very reasonable here and investors can find good buildings and lands at very reasonable prices as compared to other cities.

What industries might be interesting for Turkish businessmen?
There are a number of industries that could be interesting. Over the past ten years, the bio-technology and life sciences industries have been growing.  There has been substantial private and public investment in what is called Buffalo/Niagara Medical Campus. In the area of downtown Buffalo, there has been over $500 million invested and over several thousands jobs created.
The Green industry is another area. The tourism industry is another important area. We think imports and exports are other important areas in which international businesses could participate in this community.

Can you tell us about the Buffalo business environment for international businesses? For a foreigner investor, how long does it take to establish a company?  
We have a number of entities that work on business development that has streamlined the process of doing business in Buffalo and western New York. Those agencies work together to assist businesses which want to relocate, expand and start-up in our area. They really try to expedite the process. They worked to reduce the period of time it takes to move business forward in our community. Any of those entities, including the city, could work as lead agency to assist international business. We also have over 12 sister cities relationships where we have members of our community who have relationships, in connection with the international community, in different countries that also partner with us to assist businesses trying to establish themselves in Buffalo.

Which international companies are located in Buffalo?
A couple of examples come to mind. One is New Era Cap Co. They are the supplier of baseball caps for Major League Baseball. They do business all over the world and they bring a lot of customers and business partners into Buffalo. Another international company is Labatt USA, a Canadian beer company. Their sales headquarter is in Buffalo. The company exports their products not only across the U.S. but also all over the world. We have many more than 20 other smaller companies that also do great deal international business in other parts of the country. They bring customers and clients into our community. Also the Buffalo/Niagara International Airport is extremely conveniently  located. Even during the busiest periods, you can get from the airport to anywhere in  Buffalo in 10-20 minutes maximum. On a good day you can get to downtown Buffalo within 5 minutes from the airport.

When a company invests in Buffalo, that company should consider the Canadian market as well. What are the advantages of being very close to the Canadian border?
We have an extremely close relationship with Canada. In fact there is a coalition of border mayors. We get together on a regular basis to talk about issues of business development, trade and border access. We also meet with the Canadian consulate regularly to make sure that the needs of businesses in our community are met. They can successfully operate on both sides of the border. When businesses have issues, we can assign some of our economic development staff to try to help resolve any difficulties.
Some investment projects in big cities have failed in part due to high production, rent and labor costs of big cities. What are your suggestions for companies that have made unsuccessful investment attempts in big cities?
As you mentioned, oftentimes when international businesses think about New York State, they think about New York City. They don’t know there are several other cities in NYS. Buffalo is the second largest city of New York State. If you drove from NYC to Buffalo, it would take you 8 hours to do that. But the cost of buying an office building, the cost of buying real estate, the cost of buying a home, the cost of hiring employees in Buffalo, is a fraction of what it is in NYC. International businesses could operate in Buffalo at substantially less cost than they could in New York City, in New Jersey, in Pennsylvania and in Connecticut. We have a very low cost business environment. When it comes to the cost of real estate, real estate certainly retains value in this community. We are also blessed very skilled workforce in this community that works at a much lover cost than a comparable workforce in New York City.

In 2005, you were elected with over 60 percent of the vote. What was your secret and are you going to run for another term?
I think the secret was campaigning aggressively and spending time on every single section of Buffalo, trying to present a platform that made people feel hope and opportunity. We have been successful in reducing crime over all. We have been able reduce taxes.  We have seen economic development activity increase. The city was losing population but we have seen that trend begin to slow. We are moving in the right directions. I think we have been able to accomplish a lot of things. There are a lot of people who would like to see me run for reelection. I haven’t formally made that announcement but certainly I’m looking very favorably on moving in that direction.

County: Erie
First Settled: 1789
Founded: 1801
Incorporated (City): 1832
City: 52.5 sq mi (136.0 km2)  
Population (2007):  City 272,632, Metro 1,254,066
Airport: Buffalo Niagara International Airport
Web: www.city-buffalo.com

Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07