January 6, 2020
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Unveils 28th Proposal for 2020 State of the State: Transforming Buffalo's North Aud Block

Governor Cuomo Unveils 28th Proposal for 2020 State of the State: Transforming Buffalo's North Aud Block

Canalside Project Will Include Residences, Restaurants, Shops, Parking and Public Piazza

Meeting To Hear Final Comment On The Governor's Announced Development Plans Will Be Held On January 22

See Proposed Renderings Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the 28th proposal of his 2020 State of the State agenda - transforming Buffalo's North Aud Block at Canalside based on community and stakeholder input. The concept would incorporate elements of the district's historic character, while creating a vibrant mix of residences, restaurants and shops, as well as added parking. The plan is based on an interpretation of the historic street pattern that once extended through the block from the Erie Canal. The "streets" will be pedestrian paths and include an open piazza. In August 2018, Governor Cuomo announced $10 million in funding to transform the North Aud Block, the State's final remaining parcel to be developed at Canalside. See concept renderings and a map of property here.

"With the State's investment and community support, Canalside has quickly become a top destination, with demand for private investment on the rise and young people coming back," Governor Cuomo said. "The Buffalo success story enters the next chapter with the transformation of the North Aud Block, and this design concept fuses the site's historic past with a design for the 21st century. Combined with our other strategic investments in the region, this project will help ensure all the arrows continue pointing in the right direction in Buffalo and beyond."

The Governor's announced development plan for the block —bordered by Lower Terrace to the North, Main Street to the East, the canals to the south and Commercial and Pearl streets to the West—envisions multiple buildings, up to 200 residential units on upper floors, approximately 140,000 square feet of commercial space and 300 parking spaces, half of which will be below grade. The tallest building, located on the northernmost part of the site, could be as high as 13 stories and will buffer noise from the highway, protect against weather.

TY Lin International, a multi-discipline engineering firm with more than 60 years of experience in infrastructure development was hired by Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation and has been working on the project since March 2019. Ty Lin created multiple concepts for the nearly 2-acre site, guided by the historic street pattern and the ECHDC Design Guidelines set for Canalside. After months of design, Ty Lin hosted multiple public forums and stakeholder meetings to generate consensus on a preferred concept. A final meeting to hear comment on the preferred concept will be held on January 22 at Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation offices from 5:30-7:00 pm. A Modified General Project Plan and SEQR will be considered by the ECHDC Board of Directors later this year, followed by a private development RFP solicitation for the site.

ECHDC previously completed construction in 2014 of a series of "canals" on the South Aud Block based on the historic Erie and Hamburg canals. These canals are shallow, and support ice skating in the winter and other activities, including paddle and pedal boats in the summer. Construction also included the creation of public spaces and bridges. These added canal features have grown in popularity and attendance each year and are attracting private investment, such as the newly opened Explore & More: The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children's Museum and Heritage Point, which will break ground in the spring.

Currently at Canalside, the Buffalo Heritage Carousel project, which will consist of a new building near the corner of Prime and Perry Streets to house the nearly century-old De Angelis Carousel, and the Longshed building project, a wood-frame structure on the northern end of the Central Wharf to be used by the Buffalo Maritime Center to construct a replica of the 1825 packet boat, are both under construction and expected to open in 2020. Governor Cuomo previously announced a $1.2 million matching grant to begin the carousel project and $5.53 million grant for the Longshed construction. Nearby, the new Exchange Street Station, which will be twice the size of the existing rail station and offer travelers a gateway to Downtown Buffalo, is being built and will open in 2020. Governor Cuomo committed $25 million in Buffalo Billion grant funds for this project to bring travelers directly into the heart of the city and offer easy connections to bus and light rail service.

Two projects at Canalside will break ground in 2020. Sinatra & Company Real Estate LLC will invest $21 million to build Heritage Point, two mixed-use buildings consisting of ground-floor retail and restaurants with office space and residential units on the upper floors, on the South Aud Block. The Prime Slip and sections of the historic Canal Street and Lloyd Street will also be completed by the developer. Governor Cuomo committed a $2 million grant from ECHDC for capital construction costs related to the Prime Slip and sections of Lloyd Street and Canal Street rights-of-way and canal lighting and Sinatra will also receive a $2 million loan from the Better Buffalo Fund (BBF), a Buffalo Billion initiative. Benderson Development Co. is also planning to break ground on Two Canalside, a five-story mixed-use building on the lot at the corner of Washington and Scott streets.

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