NIAGARA FALLS, NY — A developer has stepped up to breathe new life into some long abandoned buildings in Niagara Falls, which officials say is critical to the city’s future development.

TM Montante Development aims to transform several buildings on Niagara Street near 7th Street, which have been vacant for a decade, into a mixed-use complex featuring 16 market rate apartments, retail shops on the ground level, and a new home for Niagara University’s Global Tourism Institute.

The project, which according to Montante will cost just over $5 million to complete, will be aided by a $750,000 grant from the State of New York.

Vacant and derelict, the buildings are also highly visible, sitting at the main gateway to the Cataract City.

“This has become a kind of poster child for urban blight,” conceded Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster. “So just about everyone passing through Niagara Falls got a look at these buildings which have been vacant for so long.”

In that fashion, however, these buildings are not unique.

Along several blocks of Niagara Street near them, opposite of the Seneca Niagara Casino, most others are abandoned as well.

It is hoped Montante’s foray here will spark the interest of other developers to take on those other buildings.

“I think there’s going to be a huge focus and a lot of attention paid on this project for that reason,” Dyster said.

“We can do something special here, and we can truly transform the corner of 7th and Niagara,” said Chris Campos, President of TM Montante. “We can add to the growing momentum of the city and we are grateful and honored to play a part.”