Much-anticipated plans for the Canal Side development at the inner harbor should be unveiled soon. Benderson Development is expected to present its master plan and model for the project at the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation’s (ECHDC) December meeting, tentatively scheduled for December 9th.
Benderson and a Canal Side committee formed by ECHDC have been working with Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn on project details. The planning and design firm has been under contract since early 2006 to create design guidelines for the Inner Harbor and Cobblestone Districts.
Canal Side will be anchored by a 150,000-square-foot Bass Pro store that will be constructed on the site of Memorial Auditorium. Demolition and site restoration work, once it begins, will take six months. A contract for the demolition of the Donovan Building should be awarded in January. Clearing the Donovan site will take 60 to 90 days.
Benderson is expected to develop 200,000 to 250,000 sq. ft. of retail space; 60,000 to 80,000 sq. ft. of restaurant and entertainment space; 15,000 to 30,000 sq. ft. of office space; 75,000 to 125,000 sq. ft. of hotel space; and 40,000 to 75,000 sq. ft. of residential space. The exact mix of uses and their locations will be flexible to adjust to market conditions and tenant interest.
Once the plan is released and the scope of the project is defined, the environmental review process will start. Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement is expected to take six to eight months. Ground breaking for Canal Side and Bass Pro is anticipated for next fall.
In the spring, the City will begin work on nearby street improvements. Plans are also moving forward on a $16 million new parking ramp adjacent to the Marine Drive Apartments. Though design work has not been completed, the facility could be under construction next summer. It will provide parking for Bass Pro, the Inner Harbor and existing Marine Drive residents. The ramp may be one structure with segregated parking or two structures on what is now a surface parking lot parallel to the Skyway.