BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Friday morning, the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, a groundbreaking ceremony took place for the new Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute on Buffalo’s west side — a $30 million project designed to highlight and celebrate Hispanic arts, culture and history.

The planned 37,000-square foot, three-story facility on Niagara Street between Hudson and Pennsylvania has received millions in federal and state funding. It is set to include a museum, theater, event space, café, media center and learning labs.

Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York President Casimiro Rodriguez has noted the importance of the future institute’s location. In a previous conference last month, he pointed out that being on the west side, it’s located within a part of Buffalo that travelers from Canada first arrive in when coming over via the Peace Bridge.

“This center will offer our Hispanic and Latino community the opportunity to preserve their history, tell their stories, and share their culture with others,” Rodriguez said.

Gov. Hochul’s office says Buffalo’s Hispanic population of about 45,000 represents a large portion of the region’s roughly 75,000 total.

According to the Hispanic Heritage Council, plans call for the institute to be “green energy efficient with energy efficient amenities.” The institute is expected to be completed in roughly 18 months.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.