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Western New York Regional Economic Development Council announces plans and shortlist for Rainbow Centre Mall developer

by jmaloni

Press release

Wed, Aug 21st 2013 01:00 pm

Consistent with Buffalo Billion plan for tourism in Niagara Falls, Intertrust Development Inc. and Uniland Development Co. will be invited to submit RFPs for adaptive reuse and redevelopment of critical property in Niagara Falls

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council met Tuesday and was presented with a shortlist of pre-qualified developers for the adaptive reuse and redevelopment of the remaining 200,000 square feet in the former Rainbow Centre Mall in downtown Niagara Falls. Intertrust Development Inc., one of the largest hospitality business owners and developers in Western New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Uniland Development Co., a leading builder, developer and manager of commercial real estate in Western New York, will now be invited to respond to a detailed request for proposals. A preferred developer will ultimately be selected by late 2013 to redevelop the property, which is located just a short walk from the brink of the American Falls.

The full redevelopment of this property will be facilitated by future investments to be made as part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" initiative in Western New York.

"These two qualified developers present distinctive, adaptive-use designs that, if chosen, will be a positive addition to the downtown landscape of Niagara Falls," said Satish K. Tripathi, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council co-chair and president of the University at Buffalo. "With Gov. Cuomo's support through the Buffalo Billion initiative, this administration is laying the groundwork for the revitalization of Niagara Falls. I am hopeful that the successful redevelopment of the former Rainbow Centre Mall will encourage the renewal of both the city and region's tourism industry."

"The redevelopment of the remaining space in the former Rainbow Centre Mall will create new jobs, increase the tax base and support investment in downtown Niagara Falls, while returning the structure to a productive and self-sustaining use," said Howard Zemsky, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council co-chair and Larkin Development Group managing partner. "Gov. Cuomo has put an emphasis on the Niagara region and, with an able developer, we expect to move this property forward with a signature project consistent with the Buffalo Billion plan."

Under an agreement with the City of Niagara Falls, Empire State Development, through its subsidiary USA Niagara Development Corp., is leading all marketing and developer solicitation for the city-owned property. Through a request for qualification process, USAN and the City of Niagara Falls solicited development teams that demonstrated extensive experience in design, finance, development, construction and operations of large-scale urban mixed-use complexes incorporating retail, office, institutional and entertainment components. Intertrust and Uniland were pre-qualified as part of the RFQ process and will now submit a more detailed RFP.

Intertrust Development's preliminary concept is for a proposed upscale, urban mixed-use entertainment development, which will include themed franchised restaurants, a retail plaza, attractions, hotel and other amenities. Intertrust's partners on the project are LPCiminelli, a successful construction management provider; JCJ Architecture, which has designed more than 100 hospitality and entertainment projects throughout North America, including the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel; and Landry's, which owns and operates more than 400 properties, including more than 40 unique brands such as Landry's Seafood House, Bubba Gump Shrimp and Rainforest Cafe.

Uniland Development's preliminary concept is to transform the structure into a year-round destination to extend visitors' length of stay with a focus on redevelopment efforts such as a hotel, themed attraction, retail/restaurant space and expansion of the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. Uniland's partners on the project are Cannon Design, an award-winning, full service architecture, engineering and interior design firm with projects in more than 20 countries; and Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, which is headquartered in Buffalo, and is a leader in the hospitality sector with a portfolio that includes world-renowned hotels and cultural attractions.

City of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said, "Building off of the recent $26 million investment in the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, I'm pleased that our state partners at Empire State Development and USA Niagara have led us another step closer to selecting a developer for the next development phase of the former Rainbow Centre Mall - a key city-owned property in the heart of downtown Niagara Falls."

The Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan identifies tourism assets, with an emphasis on Niagara Falls, among the Buffalo Niagara region's three top sectors for investment to transform the region's economic trajectory. Part of this historic investment by the governor in the area economy is already planned to go to key public infrastructure facilities and programming to expand the tourism experience in Niagara Falls. Strategic efforts to attract or support private sector development in the downtown area near Niagara Falls State Park - an area that includes the former Rainbow Centre Mall - are also envisioned by the investment development plan.

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