Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the ‘topping out’ of the new $29 million Explore & More Children’s Museum at Canalside. The museum is well on its way to meeting its completion date of Q4 2018. Once open, the 43,000 square foot standalone building will house seven educational play zones, making Explore & More a premier waterfront destination for families. It is expected that the attraction will bring 250,000 new visitors to the waterfront, per year. That means that there is going to be a lot of residual business for other nearby shops and restaurants, to a tune of $4.9 million per year (projected).
“The transformation of Buffalo’s waterfront has been a significant economic driver for the entire region, and the addition of the Explore & More Children’s Museum will help attract even more visitors for years to come,” Governor Cuomo said. “Once complete, the museum will educate our youngest New Yorkers and visitors with creative activities, and provide exciting attractions that will help everyone learn all there is to love about Buffalo and the Empire State.”
In the first ten years of operation, the museum is projected to have a $208 million economic impact on the region.
Once open, the museum will house a café and a museum retail space. Along with four floors of dedicated uses, the rooftop terrace will be open to visitors of all ages who will certainly appreciate the views.
“Nothing has symbolized the new Buffalo more than the transformation of its waterfront, and Explore & More will be an active partner in maximizing its potential,” said Lieutenant Governor Hochul. “This expansion takes one of our region’s premier cultural assets to the next level and makes it an even more valuable resource for children and families while increasing downtown Buffalo’s appeal as a tourism destination.”
In order to get the project moving, Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation dedicated nearly $9 million to the core and shell of the building (as part of the New York Power Authority relicensing agreement).
“Canalside has become a favorite place for families to come to play and enjoy the waterfront and the Explore & More Children’s Museum will build on that,” said Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chairman Robert Gioia. “Today’s topping off is an important milestone and we look forward to the museum’s opening next year.”
‘Topping out’ is considered a builders’ rite after the last beam is placed on top of the structure – the highest point on the project.
“Today is a proud milestone for our children and their future in the community,” said Barry Swartz, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Explore & More. “Our progress is a testament to the inspired vision from state, city and community leaders, organizations, staff and innumerable committed individuals to provide support and opportunities for all children, from all walks of life. With today’s final steel beam in place, we continue on the shared journey to make a lasting and positive impact on our community’s future generations.”
After the final beam was set in place, an evergreen tree is placed on top, along with an American flag, as part of the topping out ceremony.
John Koelmel, chairman of the New York Power Authority Board of Trustees said, “The New York Power Authority is proud to have contributed to this construction milestone and applauds the team effort that has brought us this far since we broke ground in March. This is another exciting project that continues the Governor’s efforts to bring positive energy to downtown Buffalo, which benefits the whole region. The Explore & More Museum and our own renovated Power Vista visitor center are great examples of the new attractions for families and tourists who now have even more reasons to extend their stay and enjoy our expansive waterfront.”
Senator Tim Kennedy said, “Today is a win for our waterfront and families across Western New York. Every year, Canalside sees more than one million visitors, and with the creation of the Explore & More Children’s Museum, that number will grow exponentially. New York State not only recognizes the importance of attracting folks to our waterfront, but of ensuring they return. My family and I look forward to enjoying the museum and all that it has to offer once complete.”
Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, “We are building a great experience at Canalside for the entire family, and the Explore & More Children’s Museum is an important piece of the puzzle. Today is an important day to celebrate, and I look forward to continued progress along Buffalo’s waterfront.”
Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, “This is a wonderful milestone for Children’s Explore & More Museum. They are a welcome and much-anticipated anchor to Canalside and downtown Buffalo. Their presence will make Canalside an even more attractive destination for all families and youth activities. Congratulations.”
Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “Today marks another major milestone leading to the opening of the Explore & More Children’s Museum. Not only will it be a perfect addition to the City of Buffalo’s rich portfolio of museums, it will also be a perfect addition to Canalside. This great family-oriented attraction will be a wonderful asset for local families and a great destination for visitors, while also adding another exciting component to Buffalo’s inner and outer harbors,”
Canalside remains open throughout the museum construction process. A full schedule of upcoming events and activities is available at www.canalsidebuffalo.com.