Gerry Buchheit’s proposed Queen City Landing (QCL) project is heading back to the Planning Board. Buchheit is seeking approval to designate the 20-acre QCL site as a Planned Unit Development (“PUD”) and append the City’s zoning map and text accordingly. The PUD allows for the creative and innovative development of property that would otherwise not be possible through strict application of the standards of the Zoning Ordinance. The PUD proposal received some push-back when a plan for the entire site was not presented. Burchheit and his team are now showing what could be built after the tower is built on the eastern end of the property.
The Queen City Landing tower proposed near Fuhrman Boulevard will include 35,000 sq.ft. of restaurant and commercial space on the ground floor, 19,000 sq.ft. of restaurant and banquet space on the sixth floor, three levels of parking, and 206 residential units.
The concept plan prepared for the site envisions four different four zones reflecting four stages of future development. Rather than an isolated tower, Burchheit and his team envision a new neighborhood along the Small Boat Harbor along with significant public access.
Details from the Project Application:
Zone 1, a 6.83 acre parcel along Fuhrman Boulevard, is the first parcel to be developed and is the subject of the Major Site Plan Application. Zone 1 will contain the 20-story, approximately 477,000 square foot mixed-use development, featuring 206 residential units above an event facility, structured parking garage, and grade level retail and restaurant venues. The proposed building is set back from the southern edge of the peninsula by over 70 feet, creating a generous terrace space and waterfront zone accessible to the public and establishing the framework for a linear extension of this public promenade for the full length of the existing peninsula to the west.
Zone 2 is a 990-foot long, 2.5 acre parcel along the northern edge of the peninsula. Zone 2 is proposed to be returned to a more naturalized state, protected as waterfront open space, in keeping with the adjacent Outer Harbor park lands.
Zone 3 is a 3.11 acre parcel located midway along the peninsula with a 560 foot long frontage to the water along the southern edge of the peninsula. Two six-story structures are proposed for this location consisting of a shared parking garage, approximately 9,200 square feet of ground level retail/ restaurant space with five residential floors above and a rooftop outdoor amenity space for residents. The six-story residential structures are separated by 125 feet in order to appropriately address a scale suitable to the Site. The architecture of the proposed 6-story loft buildings considered in Zone 3 will continue to take cues from the horizontality of the site, maximize waterfront address, and will further leverage a contemporary architectural aesthetic deserving of this prominent location. Again, bird friendly ceramic frit and occupancy sensors will be utilized throughout the project to deter bird strikes.
Zone 4 is a 3.0 acre parcel located at the western end of the peninsula and is the final development phase. Eight clusters of townhomes are proposed, each will be three-stories high and comprised of four townhomes, each with direct grade-level access to the public realm. Each unit will have direct rear access to a shared parking structure and semiprivate access to a second level community garden and amenity space. Zone 4 will see a further reduction in overall building height to 3 stories supporting a significant reduction in scale and mass as the development sequentially develops further west.
Zone 4 will feature a contemporary, European inspired clustered townhome topology with an elevated semi-private, publicly accessed terrace and belvedere overlooking Lake Erie. The building setback from the southern edge of the peninsula will be maintained through Zones 3 and 4, allowing subsequent development of the proposed pedestrian promenade and affording continuous public access along the full length of the south and west ends of the peninsula. In addition, Zone 2, north of Zone 3 and 4, will provide significant waterfront access and open space along the northern side of Zone 4.
On the southern edge of the peninsula, a promenade will be developed to afford continuous public access along the entire length of the south and west ends of the peninsula. Eventually, that promenade will be expanded to the entire length of the Site ending in a large public area and viewing platform on the western end of the Site, providing expansive Lake Erie views. A pedestrian/bicycle path system will be added on the north side of the Site in Zone 2, connecting the west end promenade back to the multi-use public path adjacent to Fuhrmann Boulevard. In total, 4,137 linear feet of new, mixed-use publicly accessible active and passive trails and waterfront promenade are proposed.
The Project also proposes the installation of 30 public boat slips, maximizing visitor access to the Outer Harbor area and providing boaters throughout the Great Lakes with an attractive boating destination. Once constructed, the Site will boast the largest transient boat marina in the Buffalo area. Recreational and itinerant boaters can dock at the public boat slips and walk along the promenade, hop on the multi-use trail, rent kayaks or sit on the terrace of one of the Site’s new proposed restaurants while enjoying the beautiful lake views. This marina will be a tremendous resource and attraction for boaters on Lake Erie.
Buchheit purchased the former Freezer Queen plant site in 2007. In total, QCL is proposing 384 residential units and the phasing of construction will be market-driven. The application emphasizes that there is limited private sector development proposed for the outer harbor:
It is important to note that there are only three sites in the Outer Harbor, totaling approximately 72 acres, that have been zoned pursuant to the UDO specifically to be developed into residential and/ or commercial use, of which the Site is one. The Project capitalizes on this opportunity by transforming a vacant and underutilized area of land into a hub where Western New Yorkers can live, work, and appreciate the natural beauty of the Outer Harbor. The Project will incorporate residential, commercial, and recreational uses.
The Planning Board will consider the PUD application at its Monday meeting.