Construction on events center & surrounding open space will begin this fall
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. met Tuesday and authorized construction contracts totaling $13 million for the Terminal B renovations project on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. The project will create a new outdoor events center and surrounding open space by rehabilitating a vacant structure and utilizing existing parking, while reclaiming seven acres of contaminated property to open additional public access with new lake views.
ECHDC said the project will enhance the habitat with new trees, shrubs and meadow areas, and diversify the seedbed to support migrating and nesting birds.
With the contracts authorized, construction on the site is expected to begin in the coming weeks.
“The creative and adaptive reuse of the long-abandoned Terminal B site will open up this part of our scenic waterfront to the public with both passive and active recreation amenities,” ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia said. “This project, which takes up only 5% of the 200-acre property, is just one part of a comprehensive plan developed over five years with the community and stakeholders. We are thrilled to move forward with the first phase of construction.”
Occupying a footprint approximately 100,000 square-feet in area and 30-feet high, the metal framed warehouse known as Terminal B has been utilized as a storage facility since 1967 and is currently inaccessible to the public. The Terminal B renovation will remove the existing exterior walls and roof to expose the steel framing and concrete deck, and a portion of the deck will be transformed into a performance stage with some small, enclosed support spaces.
New utilities will be brought to the building through the adjacent site east of Terminal B, which will be converted to a sloped lawn. Along the base, new landscape foundations and stairs will be added to enhance accessibility. The existing asphalt drive will be renovated, with a secondary walkway added around the sloped lawn, connecting to the existing Lakeside event lawn and circulation path. Site lighting and security measures will be installed near the structure and along the pedestrian paths leading to the main entry.
The ECHDC board authorized the corporation to enter into contracts with:
•Javen Construction Co. Inc. for general construction services with a total contract amount not to exceed $7,365,000. Javen Construction’s scope of services will include select building demolition, new steel framing, steel framing preparation and painting, building enclosures, interior finishes and select site work adjacent to the existing concrete platform.
Union Concrete and Construction Corp. for sitework services with a total contract amount not to exceed $3,964,400. Union Concrete’s scope of work will include clearing the existing paved site surfaces, establishing the site parameters, excavating for site utilities, installation of landscape and fence materials, new surface walkways and drives, and site enclosures.
•Frey Electric Construction Co. Inc. for electrical services with a total contract not to exceed $1,440,600. Frey Electric’s scope of services will include demolition of all existing electrical and communication systems, routing the new electric service from Fuhrmann Boulevard to the Terminal B site, distribution of electric service within the Terminal B site, exterior lighting and miscellaneous electric connections for equipment installed by other contractors.
•M.K.S. Plumbing Corp. for mechanical services with a total contract not to exceed $230,000. M.K.S. Plumbing’s scope of services will include demolition of existing plumbing systems, routing the new mechanical and plumbing services from Fuhrmann Boulevard to the Terminal B site, distribution of gas and water lines within the Terminal B site, installation of mechanical systems within enclosed buildings, and installation of all plumbing fixtures.
Funding for the contracts is being provided by Empire State Development.
The board authorized ECHDC to enter into a contract amendment with Bergmann Associates, Architects, Engineers, Landscape Architects & Surveyors DPC LLP for construction administration services for the Terminal B project. The amendment extends the contract term through Dec. 31, 2023, and amends the contract by an amount not to exceed $300,000. The board also authorized ECHDC to enter into a contract amendment with LiRo Engineers Inc. for professional environmental services on the Outer Harbor. The amendment amends the contract by $55,000. The funding source for these two contracts is ECHDC via the New York Power Authority through relicensing agreements tied to the operation of the Niagara Power Project.
ECHDC said, “New York state is making a historic commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. In 2013, nearly 400 acres of land on the Outer Harbor was transferred from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to ECHDC. As part of that transfer, Buffalo Harbor State Park was designated as the 180th state park in New York’s system and the first in the City of Buffalo. The remaining approximately 247 acres of land north of Buffalo Harbor State Park is now operated by the ECHDC, which completed several capital improvements to increase public access to and use of this property, and conducted several community-driven planning studies that have informed the current and future disposition of the project site.”
ECHDC is governed by a nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two nonvoting, ex-officio directors. 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. The two nonvoting, ex-officio director positions are held by the Erie County executive and the City of Buffalo mayor.
As a subsidiary of ESD, 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 to attract critical mass, private investment and enhance the enjoyment of the waterfront for residents and tourists in Western New York.