University District Historic Survey

The University District Community Development Association (UDCDA) is working with kta preservation specialists, a Buffalo-based preservation consulting firm, on a historic reconnaissance level survey of four neighborhoods within the University District thanks to a $10,000 Preserve New York grant from the Preservation League of New York State and New York State Council on the Arts.

The project area consists of four distinct neighborhoods.

The reconnaissance level survey will focus primarily on the University Heights, Summit Park, Kensington Heights, and Kensington Park neighborhoods located within the University District. Constructed between 1900-1940, these neighborhoods were some of the last to be developed within the City of Buffalo’s boundaries. They represent a diverse mix of styles, including American Foursquare, Colonial Revival, and Workmen’s Bungalow and developed thanks to the expansion of the city’s streetcar system and development of the University at Buffalo.

The survey will include a field study looking at the architecture and design of each neighborhood, in depth historic and archival research looking at the development of each neighborhood, and an analysis of the historic trends and themes that influenced the social, cultural, economic, political, and industrial growth of the area. Kta will also identify a potential National Register district within one of these neighborhoods to prepare a National Register nomination for submission to the State Historic Preservation Office and National Parks Service.

The goal of the survey will be to determine whether any of the neighborhoods under review would be eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. Once nominated and listed to the Register, homeowners within these neighborhoods would then be eligible for the New York State Historic Homeowner Tax Credit Program, which covers 20% of qualified rehabilitation costs, up to a credit value of $50,000. These tax credits are an important tool in ensuring stability in neighborhoods like those across University District, as both recent and longtime homeowners address the challenges associated with an aging housing stock. By making it more affordable to reinvest in these homes, the UDCDA hopes to encourage new generation of entrepreneurs and community advocates to locate and invest in University District.

Many partners made this Preserve New York grant possible, including Preservation Buffalo Niagara, the University at Buffalo, and the New York State Historic Preservation Office. The survey builds on a preliminary context survey completed in 2016 by two Masters of Urban Planning students at UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, which came out of recommendations from the Preservation League of New York State and the State Historic Preservation Office. Guidance offered by Preservation Buffalo Niagara also helped link the UDCDA to funding opportunities offered through the Preservation League.

The Preserve New York Grant Program is a signature grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the Preservation League of New York State. Preserve New York is made possible with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.