Next phase of Canalside development to build on success of Buffalo waterfront destination
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. today announced a request for proposals has been released for the development of the South Aud Block site, which is in the heart of Canalside on Buffalo's waterfront. The one-acre site is located on the lower section of Main Street contiguous to the restored canal system at Canalside.
The revitalization of Buffalo's waterfront is a key component of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's plan to transform the Western New York economy.
"With approximately 1 million visitors coming to Canalside over the past year and enjoying the diverse recreational opportunities there, the redevelopment of the South Aud Block will build on the tremendous success of this dynamic waterfront area and help deliver the next phase of exciting recreational and entertainment options for resident and visitors alike," said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia.
As outlined in the RFP, the redevelopment contemplates mixed-use options, notably the Explore & More Children's Museum, which was selected in 2012 following an earlier RFP process. It is anticipated the museum will occupy approximately 40 percent of the site or approximately 40,000 square feet. In addition to the museum, consultants retained by ECHDC recommend restaurant/retail and office/residential options at the redevelopment site.
"The community and donors have voted with their early and enthusiastic support of our vision for a world-class children's museum on Buffalo's waterfront," said Barbara Leggett, executive director of Explore & More Children's Museum. "We look forward to collaborating with a private developer on making these plans, which have inspired widespread excitement across Western New York, a reality."
The entire Canalside project area is located along the foot of Main Street and is within walking distance to downtown residential developments, two Marriott hotels, the First Niagara Center (home to the Buffalo Sabres), the recently opened $180 million HARBORCENTER, the Erie Basin Marina and Coca-Cola Field (home to the Buffalo Bisons).
Thomas P. Dee, president of ECHDC, said, "The excitement and energy at Canalside continues to grow. We are building on the success we are seeing with all of the activities and events that people have come to love. Buffalo residents are proud of their Canalside, and now the word is spreading as more and more visitors are enjoying our year-round waterfront fun."
To view the RFP, visit http://eriecanalharbor.com/rfprfq.asp. To see prospective renderings of the site, click here for a view from Main Street, here for a view from Pearl Street and here for a towpath view.
About the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation
A nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors governs the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. The seven voting directors are recommended by the New York state governor and are appointed by the New York State Urban Development Corp., d/b/a Empire State Development, as sole shareholder of ECHDC.
As a subsidiary of Empire State Development, the state's chief economic development agency, ECHDC supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor and the Outer Harbor. Its vision is to revitalize Western New York's waterfront and restore economic growth to Buffalo based on the region's legacy of pride, urban significance and natural beauty.
For more information on ECHDC, visit www.eriecanalharbor.com.