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USA Niagara Development Corp. announces acquisition of 32 'strategic properties' in downtown Niagara Falls

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Wed, Aug 15th 2018 04:55 pm
Purchase part of Buffalo Billion phase two strategic land acquisition program
Download (PDFs) and view a property list HERE and a property location map HERE
USA Niagara Development Corp. (USAN) board of directors met Wednesday and unanimously approved the acquisition of 32 individual properties totaling approximately 11 acres of land in downtown Niagara Falls. The purchase of these properties is made possible through a strategic land acquisition program that is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Buffalo Billion phase two. USAN will acquire the properties from several limited liability corporations under primary ownership of local businessman Joseph Anderson for the fair market value of $25.75 million.
"These properties represent a tremendous opportunity to attract future investment to downtown Niagara Falls, will complement the recent significant state investments made to upgrade the adjoining Niagara Falls State Park, and will help continue our efforts to open access and create connectivity to the city's waterfront," said USAN President Christopher Schoepflin, who also serves as senior vice president of Empire State Development. "We will work to secure new mixed-use development that is compatible with our state parks and open space resources, while expanding on the base of resources necessary to facilitate an expansion of visitor stays and spending in unique and authentic ways."
The properties consist of 18 vacant commercial/former residential lots, four parking lots, four properties containing commercial/mixed use buildings, two operating lodging properties (the Quality Inn & Suites at the Falls at 240 First St., and the Rodeway Inn at 492 Main St.), and four parcels containing buildings/structures related to now-closed tourism/attractions (Smokin' Joes Native Center and the Niagara Falls Adventure Park). After closing, USAN will hold, insure and progressively dispose of the properties competitively. Holding costs would be limited to insurance costs, security and periodic grass-cutting services.
The properties are located near properties previously acquired by USAN, including 101 and 305 Buffalo Ave., the historic Hotel Niagara property, and 101 Old Falls St., which contains the USAN-owned Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. They are also located near Niagara Falls State Park, as well as several hotels and attractions in the USAN Development District.
In conjunction with the City of Niagara Falls and the University at Buffalo Regional Institute (UBRI), USAN will develop a strategic land disposition plan for the acquired properties that will advance USAN's downtown/tourism mission and the policies of the city's adopted comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance, particularly as depicted in USAN's illustrative master plan. Preliminarily, it is anticipated that, under this plan, smaller, more reuse-ready properties (e.g., mixed-use properties on Third Street) would likely be competitively solicited for reuse/sale in the near term, while vacant property and sites requiring razing of structures would be disposed over a longer-term period. In the immediate term, based upon the outcome of the hotel operations analyses, it is also anticipated the two operating lodging facilities would continue to be run through an interim operations contract, pending any long-term decisions on the redevelopment of these properties.
USAN previously acquired property at 305 and 101 Buffalo Ave. through the Strategic Land Acquisition Program. In July, USAN issued a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) to determine interest from qualified parties to redevelop 305 Buffalo Ave. The RFEI is available on the New York State Contract Reporter website HERE (Note: One must register for a free account to view RFEI) and proposals are due on Friday, Sept. 7. USAN will use responses and recommendations generated by this RFEI process to inform a planned request for proposals (RFP) process.
USAN, a subsidiary of Empire State Development, is solely dedicated to the support and promotion of economic development initiatives in Niagara Falls by leveraging private investment and encouraging growth and renewal of the tourism industry in the City of Niagara Falls. For more information, visit www.usaniagara.com.

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