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Big Reveal: North Aud Block Concept

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) has settled on a development concept for Canalside’s North Aud Block. Plans call for five new buildings with up to 200 residences, 140,000 sq.ft. of commercial space and 300 parking spaces. Buildings would be up to 13 stories tall at the north end of the site and scale down towards the canal.

The North Aud Block is bounded by Lower Terrace to the north, Main Street to the east, the canals to the south, and Commercial and Pearl streets to the west. The Buffalo News has the sneak peek of the plans that still must be approved by the ECHDC Board:

The plan, which waterfront officials must still approve, envisions a mix of restaurants, shops, and residential units on the roughly two-acre downtown site where Memorial Auditorium once stood. Renderings depict two bustling terraces at the current site of the winter ice-skating pavilion, with a series of low, corniced brick buildings and taller high-rises sitting behind them.

The proposal would, if implemented as planned, fill one of the few remaining holes in Buffalo’s downtown waterfront. It would also, state officials said, push Canalside far closer to the mixed-use, residential neighborhood its planners have long envisioned.

The final designs of the buildings will be determined by one or more developers but all of the new buildings would be subject to Canalside’s design guidelines.

Input from two public workshops helped form the plans. TY Lin International, a multi-discipline engineering firm with more than 60 years of experience in successful infrastructure development—including the design of multi-functional public landscapes and urban buildings—was selected by ECHDC to design, bid and provide construction management services for the development of infrastructure on the North Aud Block. T.Y. Lin has been working with Amsterdam-based architectural firm PPHP to prepare the conceptual designs for the layout and potential development intensity on the two-acre site.

The plan is based on an interpretation of the historic street pattern that once extended through the block from the Erie Canal. The “streets” will be pedestrian paths and include an open piazza. In August 2018, Governor Cuomo announced $10 million in funding to transform the North Aud Block, the State’s final remaining parcel to be developed at Canalside. The balance of the Canalside area is owned by the City.

A final meeting to hear comment on the preferred concept will be held on January 22 at Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation offices at 95 Perry Street from 5:30-7:00 pm.

Written by Buffalo Rising

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