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(Image courtesy of USA Niagara Development Corp.)
(Image courtesy of USA Niagara Development Corp.)

USAN approvals to advance private development in Niagara Falls' Third Street business district


Tue, Mar 23rd 2021 03:10 pm

See renderings of the Montante project here

The USA Niagara Development Corp. (USAN) board of directors met Monday and approved two general project plans (GPP) and the transfer of land in support of private development in downtown Niagara Falls. The land transfers, to Montante Group LLC and SJI Main LLC, involve land previously purchased by USAN through the Buffalo Billion Niagara Falls strategic land acquisition program. The projects are part of the continued transformation of the Third Street business district as a pedestrian and tourist-friendly neighborhood with commercial, retail and residential development.

“With these two projects, USAN is supporting facilitating the growth in the residential market and revitalization of the tourism industry in downtown Niagara Falls,” USAN Chairwoman Francine DelMonte said. “These long-dormant properties will see new life that will add to the character and vibrancy of the Third Street business district.”

City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino said, “The continued commitment of USAN to the development of the Third Street business corridor is critical to improvement of our tourist district. With these transfers, USAN has placed properties important to the district’s growth into the hand of developers committed to investing in our community.”

The Montante Group project will restore/rehabilitate commercial buildings located at 500 and 512 Main St., as well as an adjacent vacant lot at 518 Third St. (property I) and an adjacent parking lot at 503 Main St. (property II). The project will result in two vibrant, mixed-use commercial developments said to be critical for the continued development of the Third Street business district.

The first building site, at 500 Third St., would contain ground-floor space suitable for retail/restaurant use as well as commercial space above. The second building, at 512 Third St., would contain retail/restaurant space and use of adjacent outdoor areas.

The two properties would be connected through a finished outdoor seating area, which could be utilized by onsite tenants or for special events. Montante Group intends to complete the estimated $4.25 million project in two separate phases: construction of either the 500 Third St. or 512 Third St. property, followed by construction of the remaining property not chosen during phase 1.

The USAN board of directors named TM Montante Development the preferred developer in January 2020.

The GPP approval and land transfer of vacant lots at 554 and 558 Third St., to SJI Main, will support the rehabilitation and renovation of three structures (two mixed-use and one commercial) for new retail and residential development. SJI’s acquisition said to be is vital to the current development of the Third Street business district, adding value in the creation of new jobs and new residential opportunities.

Phase I of the project will consist of the creation of 36 residential apartments and six commercial spaces. SJI’s total investment for phase I is expected be approximately $3.7 million. The inclusion of the adjacent USAN-owned property will enhance the viability of SJI’s development by allowing for additional parking, while also serving as a buildable site for a potential second phase of SJI’s investment.

The properties being transferred are part of the strategic land acquisition program funded through the second phase of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative. The program’s goals include purchasing long-dormant properties located near Niagara Falls State Park, removing blight from the downtown area, and expanding the density of uses to help establish a year-round, sustainable neighborhood.

The USAN board of directors also approved two other items:

•The fiscal year 2021-22 annual operating and capital budgets. The FY 2021-22 operating Budget of $703,655 proposes a total of $580,105 in personal services and a total of $123,550 in non-personal services. The corporation’s FY 2021-22 capital budget is $24,114,760.

It is anticipated the proposed funding will cover costs related to the Hotel Niagara restoration; the close-out of the Wyndham Garden Inn Hotel Project; the completion of the Cataract Commons project; maintenance and site preparation expenses associated with properties secured through USAN’s downtown land acquisition program; as well as the costs of design support services for the Rainbow Mall civic improvement project.

Individual project expenses will be approved by the directors under separate actions.

•Approval of the $991,535 Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls facility and Old Falls Street 2021 operating budget.

USAN, a subsidiary of Empire State Development Corp., 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 https://esd.ny.gov/usa-niagara-development-corporation-6.

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