Buffalo’s a great city. Buffalo is a beautiful city. There’s a lot of strong
minded people in Buffalo. People from Buffalo have a
lot of grit and tenacity. When there is hope, change can always
come, and I think that’s what’s happening with the Northland BeltLine project. This area was known as
the land that time forgot. We think now it’ll change from the land
that time forgot to the land that time will remember. We have something going on here
in Buffalo that is phenomenal. This project is more than
the renovation of a building. This project is about the
revitalization of a neighborhood. It’s about reenergizing the city of
Buffalo, and if we’re successful, it’s about the rebound of U.S. manufacturing across this country. Buffalo has a tremendous manufacturing
legacy, one of the greatest in North America. And to really realize how vast and
extensive that industrial prowess was, all you have to do is travel
along the BeltLine: the Larkin Company, the
Wonder Bread Factory… Bethlehem Steel, Republic Steel or General
Motors, Ford, American Axle, Pure Xero, Niagara Tool and Machine… Pertus Right was the second largest
corporation in America at the end of the second World War. Then when the manufacturing economy
declined in the seventies and eighties, it really hit U.S. manufacturing hard and hit Buffalo apart. Like many other rust belt cities, once
the company’s closed the jobs dried up. Decades of lost jobs, lost
productivity, and lost businesses. Dozens of factories that once employed
tens of thousands of people along the BeltLine became vacant and began to decay
and became real symbols of the city’s decline. I was watching television one day and I
saw that, the future for this plant, and I said, wow. I said, are you kidding me? I first heard about the Northland Offline
Initiative when I read it in the Buffalo news online. I was thrilled. This is one of the largest investments
that’s ever been made on the East side: A restoration of a building that’s over
250,000 square feet, 200 tons of steel and 30,000 cubic yards of concrete, 600
different tradesmen have been on site. Buffalo Manufacturing Works engages with
manufacturers here in Western New York and around North America to show them how
to leverage technology to gain sustained competitive advantages. By having Northern Workforce Training
Center, Insight Consulting, Buffalo Manufacturing Works and the Buffalo
Niagara Manufacturing Alliance all co-located in one location, we are going
to create an advanced manufacturing and energy ecosystem, an ecosystem where the
manufacturing industry representatives can come to one location and get
everything that they need. Buffalo Manufacturing Works is using a
site where great things were made to help other manufacturers continue to make great
things and to remain competitive in a global economy. We specifically designed the
space to inspire innovation. We have a mezzanine space, which will be
used for conferences and workshops where we can be talking to groups of
manufacturers about innovation and what that means, but then they can also look
down into our High Bay and actually see cutting edge manufacturing
innovation taking place. We also have developed a expansion of our
STEM learning lab where we’re going to be working with high school students and
kids can come in, interact with these technologies, and really learn about the
technologies and the potential careers of the future. The stakes are high. Manufacturing is hugely
important to the economy. Northland is located in the
poorest areas in Buffalo. If we didn’t do this project right now in
this neighborhood, some of the trends of poverty, poor education, high
crime life would just continue. If nothing was done, if the Northland
corridor had never been thought of, the community would continue to decline. If this project had never happened, we
will continue to live in the hopelessness. The vacant properties, zombie
properties just abandoned. This redevelopment project can be
transformative for this community. It’s an anchor for the neighborhood. And it’s a vision. I’m currently a second year student
at Northland Workforce Academy. Upon graduation from the school, it, uh,
it’s gonna be a game changer for me and my family. I’ve learned motor control systems,
robotics, PLC systems, how to read schematics. I’m making a difference by showing a lot
of females that this is something that you can do. Many a person who had lost their dreams
now are able to fulfill those dreams. This isn’t just about bringing money
over to the Northland community. It’s about providing training, providing
jobs, and providing the needs of major manufacturers all over America. Manufacturing then declined here in
Western New York and around the country, but we didn’t give up. That’s, that’s Buffalo. That’s Western New York. That’s manufacturing. It is so exciting to see the focus
on manufacturing come back here. Buffalo has to be a place
where great things are made. That’s a part of our identity. At the end of the day, technology’s great,
but the key ingredient is really still people, people that want to work hard and
people that are going to work together in order to see places like this neighborhood, the
city, the region really rise again. I can’t wait to see what happens next.