Brendan Keany

Huge Funding Coming to Albright-Knox Expansion Project

Jeffrey Gundlach matches $10 million raised by gallery in 2018

January 11, 2019 - 2:22 pm
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BUFFALO (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - In 2016, when the Albright-Knox Art Gallery launched its capital campaign to help spur funding for its expansion project, billionaire Jeffrey Gundlach issued a matching challenge of $42.5 million if the gallery was able to raise $50 million in 11 weeks - which it did - thus leveraging his match.

Today, there was another huge capital investment announced by Gundlach and New York State.

"Jeffrey issued a second challenge," said Janne Siren, who serves as the director of the Albright-Knox. "'If you raise $10 million in the course of 2018, I will match that with $10 million.' We raised $13 million during that second match period, thereby leveraging the full amount of his second gift."

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul also attended the event because she has some news from the state.

"Today, I'm very proud to announce, on behalf of the governor and Empire State Development, that we will be investing an additional $3.3 million into the Albright-Knox-Gundlach expansion project," she said. "This $3.3 million is going to continue to be a part of the funds that we're securing to make sure that this does become a reality. I'm not saying this is the final amount, but I'm here today to announce that this is a cumulative amount now adding up to $18.3 million from the State of New York."\

Siren says he's grateful for the support received from the state.

"Without New York State, and Governor Cuomo's, and the assembly's and the senate's support, we of course, could not have met the first match or this second match," he said.

Siren then described what the funding will be going toward.

"[The expansion project> will add a new building to our campus in the area where we now have a parking lot, that will form the footprint of the new building," said Siren. "We will bury the parking lot, thereby repatriating park land, and of course, we will refurbish our historic buildings that date from 1905 and 1962, respectively."

Gundlach says this project will help show off the renaissance of the city and add another piece that will make Buffalo a destination.

"I think that the tourist buses that now depart from Manhattan; first stop after Manhattan - Corning glass works; next stop - Niagara Falls; next stop - Toronto," began Gundlach. "What's missing from this connecting of the dots is Buffalo. This is going to be a terrific situation, and I think it's going to be great for the city, and I think the investments from the county, the city, the state, the assembly and so on, will be paid off in spades - not just in economic revenue, but pride and reputation."

Siren echoed Gundlach's sentiments, saying the Albright-Knox-Gundlach Art Gallery will be a beacon for the city.

"I think it will be a vital dymanic force in the renaissance of the region," he said. "We will see large numbers of national and global tourism, new economies that will spring forth around this project. I think it will be a beacon that will help Buffalonians and Western New Yorkers be proud on a global stage of their home city and home region."

Gundlach says it's an honor that the Albright-Knox-Gundlach Art Gallery will come to fruition in the near future.

"I'm thrilled to be the anchor of this project," said Gundlach. "We're going to see it through all the way home."

Hear full audio from the press conference and Siren below:

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