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.
The 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.
Benderson 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.
There 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.