January 2015 Woman in Leadership
Co-owner, Buffalove Development
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Niagara Falls native Bernice Radle is a 28-year-old whose dedication and passion is aimed at historic preservation, neighborhood development and making historic buildings more energy efficient in Buffalo. She is a project manager at Buffalo Energy and co-owns Buffalove Development with husband Jason Wilson. The company aims to revitalize neighborhoods by rehabilitating vacant or underutilized historic properties in Buffalo. Each development project embraces historic preservation and sustainability and provides clean, affordable living options to the community.
She is very active in Buffalo’s Young Preservationists, Women Elect, and the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. Bernice holds an urban planning degree from SUNY Buffalo State College. Bernice is the recipient of the Peter H. Brink Award for Individual Achievement in Historic Preservation and in 2013, presented “Preservation 2.0: Neighborhoods, Heart Bombs & Engaging Young People” at TEDxBuffalo.
The New York Times article by Penelope Green, “Small-Scale Developers, Big Dreams” published November 6, 2013, describes Bernice as an activist microdeveloper. “...Ms. Radle is nearly irresistible. She is now a project manager at Buffalo Energy, a green-energy consulting firm, but one day she hopes to run for mayor. “I’m determined as hell,” she said... Speaking at an energy conference last year, Ms. Radle so impressed Martin Dunn, a developer of affordable housing in New York City, that he lent her and Mr. Wilson the money they needed to rehab their properties, about $60,000.”
And from a Buffalo Spree December 2012 article “Buffalo Game Changers” by Maria Scrivani: “They spend vacations traveling to other urban areas, like Portland, Boulder, New York City and Montreal, to see what’s working there, from bike paths to historic tax credits. They share a house on the far West Side, in a neighborhood still needing a lot of help to restore its former glory. Both see themselves as part of the solution to some very big, entrenched urban problems.”
According to Bernice, “Jason and I were tired of seeing vacant houses being demolished. We knew they were worth more than going to a landfill so we decided to put our money where our mouth is and buy a few properties to renovate. Doing a renovation helps us understand the economics of preservation and helps our ‘it can be done’ argument.”
She and her husband were the first couple to be married at Silo City, surrounded by Buffalo’s historic grain elevators. Mayor Byron Brown proclaimed their wedding date of July 5, 2014 to be “Bernice and Jason Day” in the City of Buffalo.