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Canalside Public Space to Extend to Washington Street

While construction continues on the canals that will interpret the alignment of the Erie Canal and Commercial Slip on the Aud Block, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. (ECHDC) is taking steps to add public space east of Main Street.  Plans for the 50′ wide strip of land just south of the Donovan Building between Main and Washington streets call for a grove of Honey locust trees on the eastern edge of the site and a shallow pool of water along Main Street.  It is expected to become a year-round activity space.


east canal 1.JPGThe charcoal-tinted canal pool along Main is aligned with the canals on the west side of the street.  Canal channels will run through the granite-paved tree grove to Washington Street to tie the site together. 

east canal 2.JPGBenderson Development is currently converting the Donovan Building to the north into One Canalside, a mix of retail, office and hotel space.  The Courtyard by Marriott’s porte-corhere will be located adjacent to the park but elevated six feet. 

east canal 4.JPGThere is a parcel south of the park and north of Scott Street reserved for future development.  The Canal Side Project Plan calls for 14,600 sq.ft. of retail space and 65 residential units on the upper floors of what is called the “South Block” parcel.  This area will be sodded until development occurs.

South of Scott Street, construction is expected to start next spring on HARBORcenter, a mixed-use complex consisting of retail, parking, a full-service hotel and a two-rink hockey complex.

ECHDC has contracted with C&S Cos. of Buffalo at a cost of $652,000 to complete the design for the East Canal site.  Construction bids are expected to be let later this year with work being completed by the end of 2013, about the same time that One Canalside is expected to open.

east canal 3.JPG

Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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  • Buffaloian

    Nice idea but I wonder how long it will be before someone paying more attention to their texting or cell conversation and steps into one of the water filled channels and breaks their leg.
    I would suggest leaving the ground solid or fill the whole thing with water. I prefer the later.

  • elmdog

    So the stretch of street is completely gone?

  • Quixote

    any plans for the Buffalo News to get with the program and do some improvements to their building?

  • sbrof

    this isn’t currently a street but a cut through of what is the existing Donovan Block. If you look on the site plan Scott street is still to the South of what they refer to as the South Block.

  • pampiniform

    So they should change the design just because some moron might fall into it?

  • Chris

    It would be nice if they took a bit of what the folks have done on the high line in NYC. Integrating grasses, wild flowers, and other sustainable plants also the integration of industrial past would be nice too.
    Some of these renderings look very hard with tree boxes, etc. Wouldn’t this be the perfect place to test the new organic drainage systems that funnel storm water to plants rather than down the storm sewer?
    Also there is nothing wrong with the Buffalo News building. It is a great example of a certain type of architecture, not yet appreciated by most.

  • jketry

    Next step is to get the NFTA subway trains stored somewhere else besides one of the best waterfront buildings we have in Buffalo, The DL&W Railroad Terminal.

  • newskylinebuffalo

    I thought there was going to be glass over the water by the grove area?
    Also will the channel be swimming-friendly? Like a splash pool for kids, perhaps some fountains would be a great idea to make it usable space that can not only look attractive but be functional as well.

  • JC8384

    Something tells me that the Marriott (and the future tenets of the private development parcel to the south of the East Canal) wouldn’t want a public splash pool right in front of their property. And I wouldn’t blame them for that.

  • LouisTully

    The tenants probably wouldn’t either.

  • JC8384

    Oops , typed that one too fast and didn’t spell check. Thanks.

  • Buffaboy

    Look at the Donovan building…ugly turned pretty. BN has the money, they can do it.

  • LouisTully


  • Buffalo All Star

    Sooo much public space…sooo many trees…sooo many flower beds
    Soo few people to maintain the trees and public space and flower beds we already have….
    New businesses contributing to the tax base to pay for all of this new public space….
    1. hotdog stand
    2. restaurant
    Take a walk down Delaware and Chippewa and you’ll see how well we maintain our landscaping.
    $652 k for design of “East Canalside”..can we get a total of how much money has been burned thru already and what the plan is once its all gone? We’ve got to thru a good portion of it already?

  • Quixote

    i appreciate the architecture; not so much the way it is maintained. Broken paver stones along Washington Street, unkempt flower boxes, dirt and grime, street lobby used as a storage area and a building sign with letters that do not match.
    A little bit of care would go a long way.

  • Pubmoney1

    How about a nice statue of General “Wild Bill” Donovan in the public space to honor him since his namesake building is now being replaced.

  • elmdog

    It seems odd because in one of the pics there are buildings on each side, how does that work …. One of those is the Donovan as the other?

  • LouisTully

    He was a pretty huge bad-ass.

  • sbrof

    correct, the Donovan is on the left and the buildings on the right are not there, but depict a future development. The right buildings are the South Block.

  • hamp

    The BN building may not be “pretty” but a city needs a range of building styles. I believe the BN building is the only Edward Durell Stone (Kennedy Center) building in Buffalo.

  • Buffaloian

    can you say LAWSUIT.

  • grad94

    i predict that someday walking while texting will get you a ticket. you read it here first!

  • Tahooter

    Agreed. Some ferns, grasses, and native flowering perennials in beds would go a long way to soften this space.
    A nice water treatment would be great, but this insignificant, double latrine-like effect in a public space/walkway seems very odd.
    Did ECHDC even ask Mark Goldman and other visionaries to get involved/sign off on this design? Or is this work by a design firm with unilateral blessing by ECHDC board?

  • newskylinebuffalo

    I just don’t get it then. It’s a pond of water with no function… At least some fountains would be nice!

  • Platt4

    That’s a sexy park. It should be for the cost of design- can imagine what construction cost will be. How much Power Authority money is left??? The consultants love Goldman’s lighter, quicker cheaper plan!!! Triangulation BS has squandered an opportunity here.

  • ForestBird

    Honey locust trees are a terrible choice for any public place. They are easily damaged by wind and are covered by very sharp thorns, besides not being native to this area. Basswood (Linden) trees are far more appropriate.

  • newskylinebuffalo

    They also grow in a funky way unless pruned properly on a regular basis… I think some nice Lake Erie White-Birch trees would be perfect for this area- not too much shade but also gives it a “local flare” without being obnoxiously large or intrusive as they grow

  • jhorn

    forest bird- Thornless (and podless) honey locust varieties have been around for quite a while. Sunburst and Shademaster are two that come to mind, I’m sure there are others. They are a popular choice for urban areas because of their pollution tolerance, relatively small size, and narrow leaves (which allows grass or flowers to be grown beneath them and creates less mess in the fall). Honey locust is native to WNY.

  • hamp

    I think Honey Locusts are fast growing and beautiful urban trees.$

  • ladyinwhite

    Sweet looking pocket park. Hope it happens as in the rendering.

  • Buffaboy

    I agree, I don’t think the architecture is the problem, I think it could just use a face-lift to make it match with the rest of the developments happening down here.

  • zamedy

    I guess it’s a good day when we’re able to nitpick about the type of trees and design of a water feature instead of complaining about the continued LACK of progress on the waterfront. We can all agree that after DECADES, we have finally turned the corner and are FINALLY seeing REAL progress. Bass Pro who?
    Now let’s land another Frozen Four or Round 1 and 2 of the NCAA Mens or Womens Tourney. We’ve been lucky enough to host these events in the past.. but let’s face it.. the area around the arena was (and still is) less than desirable. You definitely don’t get a ‘cool urban environment’ feel when you walk outside the arena and see a giant parking lot, vacant old sports auditorium and ugly state office building. That won’t be the case for much longer. And won’t it be great to read or hear a quote/soundbite from someone who was at one of these events in the past saying how pleasantly surprised to see how much more Buffalo has to offer them now.
    I can’t help but walk or drive this area now and get excited. Really excited.

  • schvanstuchen

    The “south block” can’t happen soon enough. With retail and 65 residential units this will add to the critical mass of this project. This should be build concurrently with the donovan building so it all comes online at the same time. I’m sure they will have no problem filling that building. Why delay this?

  • buffgalesq

    Lawsuit no more so than someone tripping over a curb while not paying attention. Open and obvious condition, no hazardous condition, assumption of risk, contributory negligence ….. If we were overly concerned with litigation (even more than we already are!) then this would be one hell of a boring world.

  • 65oceandrive

    Honey Locusts are a horrible choice for this area. Yes, they are thornless and they have been available for decades, that doesn’t make them a good choice for trees in our urban core. They have been massively overplanted and add little in terms of interest. Perpetuating generic and “vanilla” plantings because we give the job of plant selection to those with little to no knowledge, or passion for plants, makes our cities generic and “vanilla”. Landscape Architects are trained to make proper tree selections given numerous site and climate constraints, understanding the role of the tree on the site, how people use a space and how the rooting structure will work in any number of conditions. For heaven sakes, pick something better than a Honey Locust, or a Maple, or a Pear for that matter. TREES are important, give them the thought and consideration they deserve and you will create a better space!

  • xiaoxiao

    Now let’s land another Frozen Four or Round 1 and 2 of the NCAA Mens or Womens Tourney. We’ve been lucky enough to host these events in the past.. but let’s face it.. the area around the arena was (and still is) less than desirable.comprar camisetas de futbol baratas, You definitely don’t get a ‘cool urban environment’ feel when you walk outside the arena and see a giant parking lot, vacant old sports auditorium and ugly state office building. That won’t be the case for much longer.

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