The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) is looking for a developer to construct three buildings along Marine Drive in Canalside. And feel free to change the plans they spent tens of thousands of dollars and a half a year preparing.
Earlier this year, ECHDC chose Fontanese Folts Aubrecht Ernst to prepare schematics for the three new buildings shown here. But what gets built is up to the developer chosen. The Request For Proposals (RFP) seeking for a developer for the buildings says the designs are ‘schematic only’ and the developer may change uses and building designs.
Proposals are required to include certain mandatory design features such as providing space for the Explore & More Children’s Museum, a Canalside Information Center, and the Erie Canalway Trail Milepost Zero plaza. Most everything else is on the table.
Explore and More Building – Marine Drive Elevation
Explore & More Building – Canal (north) Elevation
According to the RFP, street layout and grades are considered nearly fixed. ECHDC may allow some modification of the street layout if the proposal identifies developer or tenant needs that require changes to that shown in the schematic design. While existing site conditions and right‐of‐way conditions are fixed, the building parcel sizes may be revised if the proposal revises, and ECHDC accepts, an alternative street layout.
Fontanese, Folts, Aubrecht & Ernst developed the schematic plans for the site and buildings based on the requirements to include the Explore & More Children’s Museum, a Canalside Information Center, restaurant/retail spaces along the towpath and ground floors, and office/residential on the upper floors.
The consulting team also developed the schematic plans to coincide with the site’s physical constraints, including the sub‐basement condition located below parcels A2.1 and A2.4 which houses the mechanical/electrical/plumbing systems for the canals.
Explore & More Children’s Museum
Museum Size: 40,000 RSF (including 2,600 RSF Outdoor Terraces and Green Roof)
Audience: Families and Children (ages Birth – 12)
Mid‐Range Attendance: 181,000 Annual
Peak Month Attendance: 19,900 (February, July and August)
Conceptual Framework: “Exploring Buffalo & More”
As detailed in the Master Plan, the proposed museum would be located on Parcels A2.2 and A2.3, the southern end of the former Memorial Auditorium Block at the corner of Main Street and Scott Street. The museum entrance would be located at this corner, while a museum‐retail store would activate Scott Street and a café/restaurant would activate Main Street and the canal towpath.
ECHDC has committed $8 million in funding for the construction of the Explore & More Children’s Museum core & shell space.
Information Center and Parcel A2.1 Building – Lloyd Street Elevation
The Information Center is the building located on Parcel A2.4, has a 1,571 sq.ft. footprint and is two floors in height, with a parapet wall to conceal mechanical equipment. The space within the building is dedicated to the information center, public restrooms and storage, and space for the Zamboni during the winter months.
The ECHDC may own or lease the Information Center building. If ECHDC continues to own the land upon which the Information Center building, streets and bike area are to constructed, ECHDC will continue to design the Information Center and site work elements and complete construction documents that will be provided to the designated developer. It is expected that the designated developer will then construct both of these components on behalf of ECHDC. Schematic design cost estimates have been completed for the Information Center ($1.6 million) and site work ($3 million).
ECHDC will be ranking any proposals based upon the following development priorities:
1. Maximizing economic impact;
2. Maximizing visitorship and pedestrian traffic at Canalside;
3. Minimizing the project contribution required by ECHDC;
4. Maximizing Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges towards ensuring long‐term
sustainability of Canalside;
5. Meeting Project requirements;
6. Aligning with the goals of the Canalside General Project Plan;
7. Maximizing ground floor (towpath and street levels) activation;
8. Featuring meaningful participation of New York State‐certified Minority and
Woman‐Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in the Project Team; and,
9. Incorporating sustainable building practices and LEED Silver Core & Shell.
Proposals are due on January 9.
Parcel A2.1 Building – Canal (North) Elevation