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70,000 square feet and a deck the size of a football field!

It’s still a pipe dream… but after a walkthrough of the DL&W (Delaware, Lackawanna & Western) Terminal today, we discovered that it is THE ultimate market possibility that anyone could ever ask for. Peter Burke, NFTA Real Property Manager, along with Ben Antonio (Manager Metro Rail), Terry Hildebrandt (Superintendent Rail Vehicle Maintenance), and Mike Esford (Manager, Rail Maintenance), gave our market’s site selection committee a tour of the facility that literally blew us away. And get this – they were excited to do so and thought that the idea of a market was really cool. The crew pointed out all of the reasons that a market would work in the space, and spelled out for us in detail specs that would help get us to the next stage of planning.

Like I said, this is still a pipe dream, but every single person that walked away from the tour today had one thought on their minds… “This project actually has some legs, and the NFTA is interested in pursuing the idea further.” Likewise, every single person could not help but express out loud, “Any other city and this would have been a market 15 years ago.” As a matter of fact, after talking to Rocco Termini the other day he clued me in that he had commissioned a rendering of… you guessed it… the DL&W as a market place 30 years ago!
I owe a word of thanks to Paul Wolf (Chief of Staff – Common Council) for enabling our group to reach the ears of the NFTA, and also to Mike Risman (Hodgson Russ) for providing us with crucial information regarding the DL&W. I am still in a state of disbelief in regards to the overall excitement and help that we have received in such a short period of time pertaining to this project. Assemblyman Sam Hoyt has given us his full support, and our market group has grown to include 39 people from all walks of life that want to see a market along the waterfront.
There are so many hurdles to jump, and chances are that the terminal might be too much to chew, but the group has committed to pitch the idea in phases. Phase 1: Occupy the upper deck during the warm months. Phase 2: Expand into the interior of the terminal. Phase 3: Incorporate infrastructure and build-out plans that would require significant monies.
Significant money or not, there are quick fix solutions to get this idea off the ground. We are setting up key meetings over the next few weeks that will give us a better idea what we need help-wise. What we do know: The roof is solid with no leaks – the interior is bone dry. The upper deck is so sturdy that it was designed to put an additional four floors on top. There is plenty of access for a ton of visitors. An elevator would need to be installed to get goods to the second level (and handicap access). There are elevated sections within the space for performances.
There is a wrap-around patio that circles the entire building. There was even plans at one time to connect the 2nd floor to the HSBC Arena – those would have been impossible if the Seneca Nation had used the terminal for gambling. And there are creative parking measures that could be worked out (hopefully) as the market grows. Removal of the bricked-in arched windows would allow for natural light to flood in.
This could be a huge boost to get Light Rail rider-ship stepped up on the weekends. Immediate access to the Buffalo River is too good to be true and the market would be an incredible fit with Inner Harbor plans. By utilizing resources such as existing farmers’ markets and operational restaurants (some of which have already expressed an interest in the plan), the initial groundwork is not farfetched.
Market Committee Members: We will not be having a meeting tomorrow (Saturday), but plan on meeting the following Saturday.
The Buffalo River Market
Why do we need a market?
What would you like to see at the market?
Site Committee Looks Around
Michelle’s Suggested Markets:
Portland Saturday Market, OR
Ithaca Farmer’s Market, NY
Chelsea Market, NYC
Ferry Building Market, San Fran, CA
Clinton Square, Syracuse NY
Rochester Public Market, NY

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