The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) Board of Directors approved several items today to help revitalize Buffalo’s waterfront. The board endorsed the design of the HARBORcenter, a $170 million private sector investment, on the Webster Block that builds off the excitement and success of ECHDC’s Canalside and moved forward to light grain elevators and bridges along the waterfront. It also approved the design of the East Canal at the former General Donovan State Office Building site.
“The projects approved today continue the great momentum and progress we have seen on Buffalo’s waterfront under Governor Cuomo’s leadership,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “The success at Canalside is a catalyst for nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in active development projects in and around Canalside that are spurring public/private partnerships, attracting visitors to Western New York and making the citizens of Buffalo proud of our rich history. The HARBORcenter will draw people from around the region and beyond, while the East Canal and the lighting of our grain elevators represent increased attractions and activities for those visitors.”
Based on the recommendations of the ECHDC’s Design Committee and the City of Buffalo Planning Board, the board found that the HARBORcenter project is consistent with the design guidelines established by the corporation as part of the modified general project plan (MGPP) for Canalside. Earlier this morning the Erie County Industrial Development Agency approved an incentive package for the project (and tabled one for the Conventus project at Main and High).
The board also accepted the Grain Elevator & Bridges Visual Master Plan, Final Report as complete. Foit-Albert Associates and Ambiances Design Productions developed the comprehensive phased plan that will illuminate and activate grain elevators and bridges with light and video projections. ECHDC will commence the visual master plan with the following six projects:
▪ Connecting Terminal Illumination
▪ Connecting Terminal Show – Concept Plan
▪ Skyway Illumination
▪ General Mills Beacon
▪ Michigan Street Bridge
▪ Ohio Street Bridge
All of the recommendations will require future board approvals before they can be initiated.
The board also approved the design of the East Canal, which is the second phase of development on the Donovan Block. The refined plan for the project involves connecting Main Street to Washington Street with a public space that evokes the memory of the Main and Hamburg Canal, yet terminates in a shaded grove of trees, while seamlessly blending into the development site to the north and south.