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ECHDC Board Meets and Approves Measures re Buffalo’s Waterfront

Board approves contracts to TY Lin International, Queen City Bike Ferry, and Dale’s Marina Service; accepts Be Our Guest and ECHDC budgets

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) has announced that, moving forward, TY Lin International engineering firm will “design, bid, and provide construction management services (project scoping, concept design, and schematic design) for the development of infrastructure on the North Aud Block.” That work will take into consideration the reworking of the historic street pattern that once existed at the site. The cost of the work provided by TY will be $595,316 or under. The funding is part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo dedication of $10 million, issued in 2018 for design and construction. Next, TY will deliver a preferred concept plan, including budget, to the ECHDC for approval. From there the two parties will enter into negotiations to reach a final scope of work for additional tasks (design development, construction documents, bidding, awarding and construction administration, etc.)

“ECHDC is working to carry out its mission of advancing Buffalo’s Waterfront and 2019 is looking like our most active year ever,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “The actions of the board today are just the beginning as we work with Governor Cuomo to attract people to the water’s edge, while spurring additional investment in the Waterfront and the City of Buffalo.”

Along with progress on the North Aud Block, the ECHDC also shored up the remaining three years of the Be Our Guest Ltd. (BRG – a subsidiary of Rich Products Corporation) contract, for an amount not to exceed $4.5 million. BRG originally signed on for a five years operational term of Canalside. Part of BRG’s operating income and revenue will be shared with the ECHDC, which will go back into the site. That shared amount is estimated to be around $77,400, which is expected to grow in years to come. ECHDC is also working out the BRG management arrangement for the Explore & More Children’s Museum, which is expected to open this spring.

The Queen City Bike Ferry is also back on track for the 2019 season, with a new $269,450 contract in place through 2021.

The funding source for these three contracts is the New York Power Authority. 

Additionally, ECHDC will be entering into an agreement with Dale’s Marina Service, LLC, which would conduct operations and management of First Buffalo River Marina at 32 Fuhrmann Boulevard through March 1, 2021 with renewable options for 2022 and 2023. The agreement is in place, with base rent and share of revenues for the ECHDC.

In other board actions, from an ECHDC press release issued earlier today. 

  • Steve Ranalli was appointed ECHDC President. Ranalli, an employee of the corporation since 2008, is a professional engineer with experience in engineering, urban planning, design and economic development.  He has served as the vice president of development since August 2018 with day-to-day oversight and management of all projects and initiatives within the corporation’s 450 acres of waterfront property. 
  • Design approval was granted on the Explore & More Children’s Museum exterior signage with the exception of painted wording (e.g., “Play” and “Curiosity”).  The children’s museum will include signage in several locations to capture the movement of people through Canalside, enhance entrances to the facility and ancillary offerings (e.g., retail and restaurant) and make the building more playful and representative of a children’s museum.  A large tricycle sculpture will be located on the roof.  
  • $300,000 from the New York Power Authority Environmental Justice Fund was accepted by the ECHDC Board for energy-related infrastructure associated with the Explore & More Children’s Museum.  These funds will be distributed to the museum to be applied to its contribution toward construction of the core and shell of the museum building.  ECHDC previously approved $9 million toward costs associated with construction of the museum’s core and shell and certain site work. 
  • Approval of ECHDC’s operating and capital budgets for the fiscal year 2019-2020.  The operating budget of $1,267,688 includes all budgeted personnel and non-personnel expenses.  The corporation’s capital budget is $41,084,197.  This includes, but is not limited to, the remaining costs on the construction of Explore & More Children’s Museum; the development of the remainder of the South Aud Block; construction of the carousel project; construction of the Longshed; design of the North Aud Block; Donovan Block utilities relocation; and Canalside events, programming, site operations, maintenance and utility costs.  Additionally, ECHDC is funding various projects at the Outer Harbor.  Capital projects are individually approved by the corporation’s board of directors under separate actions.

Lead image: Aud Block Diagram – Note: All parcel configurations are conceptual only

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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