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Firm Selected to Design Three Buildings on Aud Block

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) today selected Fontanese Folts Aubrecht Ernst to design three new buildings along Marine Drive at the south end of the Aud Block.  The company will provide design, bid and construction administration services for four parcels on the south end of the Aud block and was selected through an RFP process.  The largest planned building will house the Explore & More Children’s Museum.  Fontanese designed Benderson’s makeover of the Donovan Building across Main Street now known as One Canalside.

“The Canalside project is now entering the next phase of development and with guidance from these design consultants on the South Aud Block, we are confident in the direction our waterfront is heading,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia.  “The design we are working on represents a one-of-a-kind project, unique to the local conditions, with a complex site program and series of stakeholders to take into consideration.”




All of the buildings will be owned by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation when completed.  A restaurant operator, Children’s Museum, and others will be tenants.

Three buildings are planned:

Parcel A2.1: The building, up to 15,900 sq.ft. in size, will include a restaurant on the lower two floors with optional banquet space on the third floor.  If banquet space is not required, the third floor would become spec office and/or residential.  ECHDC is negotiating a contract with a potential restaurant operator.

Parcels A2.2 and A2.3: The 80,000 sq.ft. building will include a Children’s Museum on the lower two floors, with spec office and/or residential on the upper floors.  The Children’s Museum has a floorplate of approximately 20,000 GSF (which includes the former Prime Slip) with access from the towpath and streets.  The Children’s Museum also includes a green roof and outdoor terraces.  The upper floors have a floorplate of approximately 10,000 GSF.  The Museum has its own design team working on the build-out and programming for its facility.

Parcel A2.4: The building will include a comfort station and storage for site amenities, with the possibility of space for a visitor/information area.  With an approximate 1,750 GSF floorplate, the building could be two floors.  However, given the desire to create a dense, urban environment the building is envisioned to have a roof or roof appurtenances that increase the visual height of this building while providing for possible programming opportunities. Ideas include, but are not limited to, outdoor signage, movie screen, corner spire or tower.

The redevelopment plan includes the reconstruction of Lake Street, between Marine Drive, and the existing Whipple Truss bridge, and Lloyd Street, between Marine Drive and the existing double Schwartz Arch bridge.  While these streets are mainly intended for pedestrian traffic, it is expected that they will handle bus drop-offs for the Children’s Museum, valet service, deliveries, refuse disposal, maintenance vehicles and emergency vehicles.  The streets will also be used for programming, outdoor seating and special events. 

The consultant contract for Fontanese Folts Aurbrecht Ernst was authorized for 30 months at a base amount not to exceed $2,076,726.  Fontanese Folts Aurbrecht Ernst team will be the “architect of record” under the direction of Ehrenkrantz, Eckstut & Kuhn, a Perkins Eastman Company, the “master architect.”  The funding source for the contract is the New York Power Authority.

Bid documents for the new buildings are expected to be completed by September 15, 2014 and the design contract (construction completed) would end in June 2016.

Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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