The factory at 27 Chandler Street in Buffalo, New York, is a three-story factory building located within the Chandler Street Industrial Buildings Historic District. It was originally built in 1902 for the Jewett Refrigerator Company which specialized in the manufacture of home refrigerators and later medical equipment and industrial refrigerators. In 1929, the company sold the factory at 27 Chandler Street to the Buffalo Davenport Company, a mattress and upholstery manufacturer. The Buffalo Davenport Company remained in the factory until 1958 when the firm went bankrupt. Following this, the manufacturing space passed through a number of short-term owners before being converted to warehouse space.
The building is a representative example of the sort of light industry that developed in the Grant-Amherst neighborhood in Buffalo during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Much of this industry developed near the New York Central Railroad Belt Line, a nineteen-mile loop of railroad tracks that had a significant impact on the development of many neighborhoods in Buffalo’s northern sections.
Once complete, the historic warehouses will become a dynamic space for small business incubation focused on the foodservice industry, as well as training operated by SUNY Buffalo State Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The building will house 16 commercial kitchens featuring range hoods, walk-in coolers, and other food production amenities. Thirteen local businesses have already signed up to utilize space provided by the project including an ice cream maker, a chocolatier, a baker, and a small mushroom farm. The space will also include a co-op style restaurant on the first floor, reactivating the former industrial corridor, and bringing additional business and development opportunities.
This is the third historic preservation project made possible through the Irvin Henderson Main Street Revitalization Fund, an ‘Innovative QLICI Use’ program that combines and enhances both the Historic and New Markets Tax Credit to support projects located in Main Street communities.
Economic and Community Impact
The incubation space organized by SUNY Buffalo State’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will provide local entrepreneurs with an affordable space to grow their businesses, an amenity vitally needed in the Western New York region. SUNY Buffalo State SBDC’s will help identify small business owners to be housed in the incubator using their network of over 100 food-related business clients. The project will also provide the SBDC with a dedicated office for confidential one-on-one business counseling and state-of-the-art incubation space for one of their most in-need client types: food manufacturers.
Tenants will be part of the START-UP NY Program, which helps new and expanding businesses through tax-based incentives and innovative academic partnerships. Tenants businesses will have the opportunity to operate tax-free for ten years and business employees will not be required to pay state income tax for up to 5 years.
The new business center is estimated to house 20 permanent jobs and create 36 construction jobs.
The project was featured in the Fall 2021 issue of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Magazine.