The Central Terminal did not get selected as the location of a new Amtrak station but it is getting a nice consolation prize. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $5 million investment from the Buffalo Billion Initiative that will support the implementation of the Urban Land Institute’s recommendations for the historic East Side landmark, Buffalo Central Terminal. Funding will be administered by the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation and will focus the investments on restoring the Terminal’s historic concourse in order to make the space fully functional for community and private use.
“We are taking an important step forward in an effort to preserve and revitalize an iconic building that is beloved in Western New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “This investment will help breathe new life into the landmark, redevelop the complex to meet the needs of the growing and diverse community, and restore one of the region’s rich architectural assets to continue building economic momentum throughout the region.”
“This jewel has been part of the fabric of Western New York life since 1927 – a place where thousands of people like my father-in-law returned from WWII, and my husband departed for college,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Growing up, I always marveled at the iconic Buffalo Central Terminal, and like all Western New Yorkers, I knew that its decline signaled troubled times ahead for this region. Instead of a symbol of decline, with this investment we will transform the Central Terminal into a symbol of rebirth. The Governor and I are committed to continuing the progress of the New Buffalo, and that means investing in our neighborhoods like the Broadway Fillmore District. Bringing the Central Terminal back to life will be a significant step forward for Buffalo’s East Side.”
In June 2017, Empire State Development in cooperation with the City of Buffalo and the ULI Foundation, sponsored a week-long Urban Land Institute study of the Buffalo Central Terminal’s potential for rehabilitation and reuse. After interviewing regional stakeholders, analyzing local context, and engaging in several intensive design charrettes, the Urban Land Institute team concluded the site could be a great asset to the community by providing activity space and opportunities that appeal to a diverse clientele.
The Central Terminal Restoration Corporation will invest the $5 million using the Urban Land Institute Advisory Panel’s findings to guide the restoration work. CTRC’s goal is to reuse the entire complex with a focus on restoring the iconic art deco tower. Initially, this work will include:
• The creation of a year-round event space in the concourse;
• Waiting room areas and parking accessibility; and
• Full capacity for catering and entertainment.
The CTRC will build a fulltime operational staff to oversee the creation of a master plan for the Buffalo Central Terminal complex, and manage future capital improvements to the property, fund raising and marketing.
The $5 million in Buffalo Billion funding for the Central Terminal project is separate from, and will not impact, the $60 million in Buffalo Billion Phase II funding, which is dedicated to developing and revitalizing target areas on the City’s East Side Commercial Corridors, including Michigan, Jefferson, Fillmore, and Bailey, and the Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative focused on housing preservation and home ownership on the East Side.
Central Terminal Restoration Corporation Vice Chairman Paul Lang said, “The Central Terminal Restoration Corporation is thankful to Governor Cuomo and Empire State Development for providing our organization the opportunity to restore and further activate the magnificent concourse of terminal. We, along with our community supporters and stakeholders, are excited to play a role in this process and are looking forward to charting the course for the restoration of the historic Central Terminal.”