Officials break ground on Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute in Buffalo

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Construction is underway on a new Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute in Buffalo. The project includes a museum, 150-seat performing arts theater, event space, café, media center for radio or television broadcasts, and learning center.

The three-story, 37,000-sq. ft. infill development the first of its kind in upstate New York, will showcase the region’s Hispanic arts and culture and serve as a central hub for the west Buffalo community.

“This is a monumental moment for our Hispanic community and the larger Western New York region which serves as a gateway to America,” said Casimiro D. Rodriguez, Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY founder and president. “This center will offer our Hispanic and Latino community the opportunity to preserve their history, tell their stories, and share their culture with others.

“The groundbreaking of the HHCI represents the collaboration and hard work of community leaders, government officials, donors, public and private organizations, and neighborhood groups. Due to Gov. Hochul and these dedicated individuals, this cultural magnet will be a center for a diverse community as well as a model for the country.”

A $5 million capital grant was announced last year through Empire State Development, for construction. The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) awarded an additional $725,000 capital grant through round 11 of the council awards in 2021. The New York Power Authority is also providing a $300,000 funding award to the HHCI through its Western New York Power Proceeds program, which is made possible through net earnings resulting from the sale of unused hydropower generated at the Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project.

In addition to the estimated 25,000 sq. ft. dedicated to the new cultural institute, the HHCI will make 10,446 sq. ft. available for lease to various small tenants to provide supplemental revenues from rents and the rest set aside for community space.

“Cultural Institutions are important to our diverse, inclusive, and world-class city,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “The city is proud to contribute $1million to this project. The strategic allocation of these funds reflects my administration’s continued commitment and dedication to the inclusive and equitable development of neighborhoods throughout our city.”

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