Terminal B abandoned warehouse and 7 acres of contaminated, inaccessible property will be transformed into outdoor events center
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced the start of construction on a $13 million outdoor entertainment pavilion on Buffalo's Outer Harbor. The project, her team said, will renovate the long-abandoned Terminal B warehouse into an events center that utilizes existing parking and reclaims seven acres of contaminated property to open additional public access with scenic new lake views. The project will also beautify the habitat with new trees, shrubs and meadow areas, and add diverse plants to support migrating and nesting birds.
Construction is expected to be completed by fall 2023.
"Projects like Terminal B's transformation are critical to my administration's continuing efforts to invigorate and elevate the unique cultural attractions that make Buffalo so special," Hochul said. "I am incredibly excited for the opportunity the pavilion will provide New Yorkers to appreciate my hometown's beautiful waterfront in a whole new way."
Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin said, "This new, one-of-a kind events center will convert abandoned and contaminated property into performance space and access to revitalized green space. This $13 million investment is an important part of the ongoing work to ensure that all New Yorkers can enjoy the natural beauty of Buffalo's waterfront.”
This project, which takes up only 5% of the 200-acre property, is one part of a comprehensive plan developed over five years with the community and stakeholders.
At 30 feet high and occupying approximately 100,000 square-feet in area, the metal framed warehouse Terminal B rests on a landfill created from dumped material dating back over a half century ago and is currently inaccessible to the public. The renovation will reduce the terminal to its metal frame and concrete deck, a portion of which will become a canopied stage. There will be a green room for performers and another for mechanicals built inside the space. A sloped lawn, new landscaping 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 Lawn and circulation path. Site lighting and other security measures will be installed near the structure and along the pedestrian paths leading to the main entry.
The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will be amongst the many performers using the space for future concerts.
Funding for the project is being provided by Empire State Development and ECHDC via the New York Power Authority through relicensing agreements tied to the operation of the Niagara Power Project.
ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia said, "Looking at the renderings of the new pavilion, it is easy to picture people gathered on a summer evening to enjoy a concert, festival or special event at Buffalo's beautiful Outer Harbor. The start of construction is the first step toward transforming the desolate and dangerous Terminal B site into an attraction all Western New Yorkers can enjoy while visiting the waterfront."
NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel said, "We are pleased to see NYPA's relicensing funds being used to repurpose the Terminal B site so that New Yorkers can enjoy the Buffalo Outer Harbor in new and creative ways. This project was developed with community and stakeholder input and NYPA is proud to support projects, like this one, that give our communities opportunities to gather and appreciate our beautiful gateway to the Buffalo-Niagara region today and for years to come."
In 2013, nearly 400 acres of land on the Outer Harbor was transferred from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) 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.
Rep. Brian Higgins said, "This is the continued transformation of Buffalo's waterfront from an old, industrial, desolate place to a dynamic, vibrant public destination that provides a range of lakeside experiences for residents and visitors to enjoy. Over 15 years later, the funding secured through the New York Power Authority settlement is still delivering for Western New York."
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "I can't wait to come to this one-of-a-kind entertainment center to hear the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and other great performers, in what will be a beautiful open-air setting. It will be a perfect complement to all the projects that have been successfully developed on the Outer Harbor. I thank Gov. Kathy Hochul, Robert Gioia, and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., and the Empire State Development Corp., for their unwavering mission to deliver world-class venues and activities on our city's Outer and Inner Harbors. I also thank my colleagues in government who made this project possible."
Turner Construction Co., a national, multidisciplinary construction management firm, is providing construction management services associated with the project. The Turner team represented ECHDC throughout the phase one pre-construction; will represent ECHDC through construction and post-construction phases; maintain responsibility for the day-to-day management of the construction process; and said it’s committed to delivering a high-quality project on time and within budget.
Turner Construction Co. Vice President Steven Perrigo said, "Turner Construction is thrilled to be part of this transformational project for the Outer Harbor. It is great to see our waterfront getting reactivated, used and enjoyed."