The USA Niagara Development Corporation has approved plans for two development efforts in downtown Niagara Falls. The land transfers, to Montante Group LLC and SJI Main LLC, involve land previously purchased by USAN through the Buffalo Billion Niagara Falls Strategic Land Acquisition Program. The projects are part of the continued transformation of the Third Street Business District as a pedestrian and tourist friendly neighborhood with commercial, retail and residential development.
“With these two projects, USAN is supporting facilitating the growth in the residential market and revitalization of the tourism industry in downtown Niagara Falls,” said USAN Chairwoman Francine Delmonte. “These long-dormant properties will see new life that will add to the character and vibrancy of the Third Street Business District.”
The Montante Group project will restore/rehabilitate commercial buildings located at 500 and 512 Main Street, as well as an adjacent vacant lot at 518 Third Street (Property I) and an adjacent parking lot at 503 Main Street (Property II). The project will result in two vibrant, mixed-use commercial developments and are critical for the continued development of the Third Street Business District.
The 500 Third Street site would contain ground floor space suitable for retail/restaurant use as well as commercial space above. The 512 Third Street site would contain retail/restaurant space and use of adjacent outdoor areas. The two properties would be connected through a finished outdoor seating area, which could be utilized by onsite tenants or for special events. Montante Group intends to complete the estimated $4.25 million project in two separate phases: construction of either the 500 Third Street or 512 Third Street property, followed by construction of the remaining property not chosen during Phase 1.
The GPP approval and land transfer of vacant lots at 554 and 558 Third Street to SJI Main will support the rehabilitation and renovation of three structures (two mixed-use and one commercial), for new retail and residential development. SJI’s acquisition is vital to the current development of the Third Street Business District, adding value in the creation of new jobs and new residential opportunities. Phase I of the project will consist of the creation of 36 residential apartments and six commercial spaces. SJI’s total investment for Phase I is expected be approximately $3.7 million. The inclusion of the adjacent USAN-owned property will enhance the viability of SJI’s development by allowing for additional parking, while also serving as a buildable site for a potential second phase of SJI’s investment.
The properties being transferred are part of the strategic land acquisition program funded through the second phase of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion Economic Development Initiative. The program’s goals include purchasing long-dormant properties located near Niagara Falls State Park, removing blight from the downtown area and expanding the density of uses to help establish a year-round, sustainable neighborhood.