Projects > Northland Corridor Redevelopment Project

Northland Corridor Redevelopment Project


On July 15, 2015, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled plans for the $44 million Northland Workforce Training Center (NWTC), a new hub from which training for emerging careers in advanced manufacturing and energy sectors would occur.  In 2016 the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, a not-for-profit development agency associated with the City of Buffalo, began work to bring this vision to fruition.  Watts was engaged as the Northland Campus Architect and began work on the NWTC immediately.  The facility was financed with $29 million from the Buffalo Billion, $15 million from the New York Power Authority, Brownfield Tax Credits, and Historic Tax Credits.  The NWTC is the anchor program of the Northland Avenue Redevelopment Project.  Watts worked with a consortium of agencies collaborating on the project, including the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC), Empire State Development (ESD) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA). 


The scope of work included redeveloping approximately 120,000 square feet of the 235,000 SF building complex at 683 Northland Avenue and the surrounding site, considered Phase 1 of the building located at 683 Northland Ave.  Phase 1 was granted a Certificate of Occupancy in September of 2018. The Phase 1 areas house administrative space, classrooms, industrial shops, and labs designed to train and turn out highly skilled members of the local workforce to meet the requirements of the 21st century advanced manufacturing and electric utility industries. The NWTC partners with local manufacturers and energy providers, workforce development training organizations, educational institutions, government entities, and community and faith based organizations to deliver educational services and a comprehensive network of support for students and interested Western New Yorkers.   The NWTC has a concentrated focus on providing on-ramps to low income and traditionally underrepresented groups, and is expected to train 300 to 400 students yearly. Services will include innovative recruiting and assessment, training offered by SUNY partners, job placement and comprehensive support services.

Watts worked closely with a Historic Preservation Architect to negotiate the requirements for Historic Tax Credits.  The building located at 683 Northland hosts approximately 35,000 square feet of windows, clerestories, and skylights. Over $5.5 Million was invested in glazing systems and convincing energy efficient replicas of the original windows. The core and shell was maintained, with structural and thermal improvements as necessary to meet current building code requirements. The factory layout was strategically utilized to provide natural light to all lab spaces.  The rehabilitation of this building is a catalyst for the revitalization of the Northland Beltline Neighborhood.


The scope of work for Phase 2 of the Northland Central project included the repurposing of the remaining 115,000 square feet of 683 Northland Avenue into office and manufacturing space for companies that support the mission of the NWTC.   The original one-story forge consisted of triple-wythe brick wall construction with typical industrial steel divided lite hopper windows and an operable steel clerestory spanning the entire length of the 7,650 SF structure.  In transforming this space into BMW’s entrance, training room, and office space, the original character of the space was maintained, and views through demising partitions were maintained using tall glazed openings. Years of neglect and deterioration forced the reconstruction of the western exterior masonry wall.  The wall was reconstructed to match the historic construction with a double-wythe insulated wall.  Aluminum storefront windows with simulated divided lites and hoppers were installed to replicate the originals.  The original clerestory was rusted and contained cracked single glazing and asbestos-containing glazing and caulk. These original windows were replaced with aluminum replicas that maintain the language of the original while incorporating a more energy efficient glazing system..  The roof of this building was replaced with a metal panel system to pay homage to the original, singly-ply corrugated metal roof from the early twentieth century.  Two factory cranes in this space were retained as artifacts original to the forge.

The relocation of multiple businesses including Buffalo Manufacturing Works, Insyte Consulting, SmartCharge, and ReTech Services to the Northland campus signifies the creation of a twenty-first century manufacturing hub in a neighborhood that was once heavily populated by factories throughout much of the twentieth century.


  • 2020 Buffalo Business First Brick by Brick Award, Adaptive Re-Use Category

    Northland Central, Phase 2

  • 2020 AIA Buffalo/WNY Chapter Award, Historic Preservation

    Northland Corridor Redevelopment

  • 2019 AIA Buffalo/WNY Chapter, Community Historic Preservation Award

    Northland Workforce Training Center, Buffalo, NY 

  • 2019 Buffalo Business First Brick by Brick Award, Adaptive Re-Use Category

    Northland Workforce Training Center, Buffalo, NY

  • 2019 AIA NYS Excelsior Award - Award of Merit

    Northland Workforce Training Center, Buffalo, NY

  • 2019 Preservation Buffalo Niagara Award, Outstanding Project

    Northland Workforce Training Center, Buffalo, NY