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Renderings courtesy of USA Niagara Development Corp.
Renderings courtesy of USA Niagara Development Corp.

USA Niagara Development Corp. holds public information session to share preliminary designs for Heritage Gateways in downtown Niagara Falls


Tue, Dec 12th 2023 11:15 am

USA Niagara Development Corp. (USAN) and the City of Niagara Falls held a public information session Monday at the Niagara Falls Convention Center to present preliminary designs for the $12 million Niagara Heritage Gateways Project, which was announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul last year. The project is the first phase of a broader Downtown Niagara Falls Heritage Walk concept that aims to strengthen connections between the downtown and Niagara Falls State Park.

The first phase includes Hydraulic Power Plaza and Niagara Gorge Gateway Park.

A press release stated, “Together, the sites will create a multiuse public space that serves as a landscaped connection between the natural wonder of the Niagara Falls State Park and downtown Niagara Falls. The webinar also presented preliminary plans for a tree walk along the riverway near the Niagara River upper rapids. The riverway tree walk – which can be accessed from Buffalo Avenue and Niagara Falls State Park via existing stairs – includes the construction of a platform that emerges from a wooded embankment and extends toward the river. The tree walk will have panoramic views of the upper rapids and Goat Island and will serve as a beacon that guides visitors from riverway to downtown.”

USA Niagara President Anthony Vilardo said, “These placemaking projects are the next step in rebuilding downtown Niagara Falls. Led by Gov. Hochul’s vision, our aim with these designs is to tell the story of our city, and create beautiful, functional public spaces that set the stage for additional economic development in the years to come.”

City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino said, “These Heritage Gateways are interesting ways to provide open green space downtown and also engage locals and tourists to rediscover points of interest in our downtown.”

Renderings courtesy of USA Niagara Development Corp.


USAN leadership was joined at the session by officials from the City of Niagara Falls, the New York-based studio Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) and landscape architect firm Hargreaves Jones. Details about the designs were reviewed, giving the public opportunity to weigh in with input on the project – which is expected to break ground in 2024. The Niagara Falls Heritage Gateways project is funded by the state through Buffalo Billion II and through the Regional Revitalization Partnership.

The press release stated, “Development of the Heritage Gateways are part of USAN’s downtown development strategy, which focuses on properties acquired by USAN in March 2019. The strategy recommends a range of intermediate steps and attainable site development guidelines for reimagining a vibrant downtown, while building momentum for sustainable and dynamic long-term development. The Heritage Gateways project is a first step in USAN’s process to bring these dormant sites back to productive use so they can increase the city’s tax base and contribute to a downtown that is enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.”

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. More information is available here.

More About PAU

The press release explained, “Led by Vishaan Chakrabarti and Ruchika Modi, New York-based studio Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) is dedicated to the advancement of resilient, equitable and joyous communities through connective design. With a team of over 20 architects and staff, PAU designs forward-looking environments, including public infrastructure, civic institutions, and social housing, employing a place-based approach that amplifies the myriad histories, aspirations and traditions that embody our complex and pluralistic society. Other current projects of note include the expansion of the I.M. Pei-designed Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the prototype for the next generation of air traffic control towers, a proposed redesign of New York’s Penn Station, and the conversion of the historic Domino Sugar Factory on Brooklyn’s waterfront into a contemporary urban office center.”

More About Hargreaves Jones

The press release explained, “Hargreaves Jones has been at the forefront of landscape architecture and planning since 1983 and is globally renowned for the transformation of urban sites, waterfronts, and campuses into iconic landscapes. The firm’s exceptional work has been widely exhibited, published and recognized by over 100 national and international awards, including the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and the Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize. Their offices in New York City, San Francisco and Cambridge work collectively, united by a belief in the power of expressive and responsive design to create enduring landscapes for communities, institutions and individuals. Fueled by rigorous investigation, Hargreaves Jones’ work engages dynamic site systems and cultural forces, with the intention of setting landscapes into motion – always evolving and adaptable. Hargreaves Jones approaches each project as an opportunity to reveal the unique qualities of a place: whether amplifying the natural phenomena of a site, expressing historic narratives, transforming infrastructural impediments into public realm opportunities, or encouraging individual interpretation and discovery.”

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