BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The former Linde Factory in Buffalo, the first plant to make compressed air, is in the middle of a true makeover. Badly damaged by fire three decades ago, the building, built in 1903, was in danger of demolition. Now it's in the process of becoming a high-tech incubator, the future home of a software developer, a cidery, and a company that produces a gas permeable ceramic material for batteries.
"We're making a very cool Google-like campus over here," said Rocco Termini, Signature Development president.
Termini said the $18 million project wouldn't be feasible without federal historic tax credits.
"You're trying to attract start-up companies," Termini said. "Start-up companies cannot afford to pay very high rents, so the rents that you can charge here, certainly can not amortize the debt you have to take on."
He said the Linde Factory is one of 64 projects in Buffalo over the last decade to utilize the credits. Termini's done 15 himself.
"It saves buildings, historic buildings and it creates jobs," he said.
But the framework for the federal tax reform plan calls for the elimination of these credits.
"Historic tax credits were designed for older, middle-sized cities like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and we've used them extremely effectively," said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-New York. "I'm one of the people who's pushed them."
Termini is depending on Schumer and Republican Congressman Tom Reed in particular. Reed, a ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee helping to craft the legislation, is vowing to fight for the credits.
"It's a lot better than him saying the opposite but I think he realizes from his own experience, how important these are to New York State," Termini said.
He said the Linde project is likely safe regardless but he has a dire prediction for future development in Buffalo if the credits are eliminated.
"It stops like a raging train struck by lightning," Termini said. "Everything just stops."