Buffalo State College announced recommencement of the Dart Street development project with a virtual public exhibition from 6-8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14. Public aspects of the project were paused in the spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this online event, RFP respondents will describe their visions for development of the Dart Street site. The virtual exhibition will include:
√ Presentations from three development teams,
√ A live-monitored virtual Q&A session,
√ Break-out sessions for each development team in its own monitored video conferencing room.
In February 2019, Buffalo State partnered with the City of Buffalo, entering into a designated developer agreement via BSCR Corp. – an affiliate organization of the Buffalo State College Foundation – to reimagine 166-170 Dart St., the current auto impound lot that sits adjacent to the Buffalo State campus. Under the designated developer agreement, BSCR has been charged with developing a plan for the parcel before presenting the plan to the Buffalo Common Council for review and approval.
“As an anchor institution committed to civic and community engagement, we are excited to improve the western border of our campus while also providing new and unique opportunities for our students and contributing to the revitalization of Buffalo’s West Side,” Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner said. “We take our role as an anchor institution seriously, especially when there is an opportunity to provide a public space that will energize the West Side and provide a lasting benefit to our great city. And we know that whatever concept we ultimately choose, it will be one that we can all support with pride.”
Although BSCR made it clear to developers during the RFP process that a specific use for the site has not been predetermined, officials did communicate a broad development vision for the project:
√ Support Buffalo State’s Strategic plan and facilities master plan by seamlessly connecting to the existing campus footprint while augmenting and improving the college experience for its students.
√ Welcome the community and support revitalization efforts on Buffalo’s West Side. This is consistent with Buffalo State’s commitment to civic and community engagement and its position not only as an anchor institution for the City of Buffalo, but also as SUNY’s only urban-engaged campus.
√ Consider waterfront access, green space, and other sustainable solutions. The project should not negatively affect water quality or the ecological health of Scajaquada Creek or the surrounding area.
√ Enhance the appearance of the campus, neighborhood and city, especially for those traveling along the western end of Route 198.
√ Leverage creative and viable funding solutions to bring this development to fruition while considering future operating costs and impacts to the campus.
In the months before and during the pandemic, campus officials have been purposeful in communicating with campus and community stakeholders, including the Black Rock Riverside Alliance, about the development project, soliciting comments and suggestions that will help inform the final recommendations to the Common Council.
“I want to thank Buffalo State College for having the vision to see what the potential reimagining of Dart Street would mean, not only for the campus, but the entire surrounding community,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said. “Their efforts to engage residents, as well as students, faculty and staff, are a clear sign that they see the importance of this project to our entire city. I want to thank President Katherine Conway-Turner for her continued leadership, not just of the college but in Western New York as well, and for her cooperative spirit in partnering with the city on this initiative.”
Members of the community are encouraged to attend the virtual information session on Sept. 14 to hear details of each developer’s reimagining of the Dart Street parcels. Register online to be notified of the virtual event details. The exhibition will be moderated by professor Robert G. Shibley, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo.
After the exhibition, a recorded session will be available for view and comment online and on a public computer at the Elaine M. Pantry Branch Library, 820 Tonawanda St., Buffalo. Questions and comments may be submitted by email to [email protected]. Developer names and project details will be shared on Sept. 14.