As of today, the community has a better understanding of the concept plan for the Buffalo Central Terminal. A press conference was held by the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation (CTRC), which was attended by numerous public officials, community members, and project coordinators. At the same time that the announcement was made, the CTRC uploaded an Executive Summary and the Buffalo Central Terminal Master Plan to its website, which goes into greater detail surrounding the potential of the site, as well as some of the initial directions that the planners and the community want to go.
Right off the bat, a grand staircase leading to the Terminal signals that this is a development for the community. In fact, during the press conference the long-shuttered iconic, Art Deco building was referred to (more than once) as “The People’s Palace,” which perfectly suites the vision moving forward. CTRC Executive Director Monica Pellegrino Faix touted the plan as one that was built upon community involvement. She also said that it’s time to celebrate and rally around this new vision that is such an integral part of the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.
Taking a closer look at the Plan (headed up by the SmithGroup Team is an international architectural, engineering and planning firm based in Detroit), which is essentially a guideline that will ultimately require upwards of $300 million to complete, the priorities are as follows:
- Prioritize the restoration and preservation of the Buffalo Central Terminal and other neighborhood assets
- Reposition the Buffalo Central Terminal as a hub of activity — as a beacon and a destination that attracts a range of investment sources and fosters interest from local, regional and national visitors
- Define ways to support the physical, programmatic and organizational decisions required for the Terminal’s sustained redevelopment
- Establish stronger physical, economic and emotional connections between the Broadway Market and the Terminal — as well as other anchoring institutions, programs, facilities and infrastructures that form the neighborhood fabric
- Support future developments that benefit both the Buffalo Central Terminal and the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood
- Inspire residents and local leaders to identify new, fun and innovative initiatives that supports the longevity of Broadway-Fillmore
- Expand on the previous efforts of leading organizations and agencies in the area to demonstrate ongoing success
The message is clear: As goes the Central Terminal, so too goes the neighborhood. And now that there is a clearer, multifaceted gameplan, the time has come to look for the funding that will make the dream come true. One of the next steps will be soliciting developers’ proposals; one such developer who has expressed a sincere interest is Buffalo’s beloved and revered Douglas Jemal.
In the meantime, the priority is to continue to stabilize the building – currently the Capital Roof Project is underway, which will cost a whopping $1 million. In the end, more sustainable systems are being eyed for long-term cost savings as well as environmental considerations.
There are, thankfully, some more immediate goals that include activating the concourse, building out a restaurant, as well as preparing the plaza and the grounds for events and entertainment aka the Civic Commons.
As for potential project anchors, a number of ideas have been presented as possibilities, including an innovation hub, utilized for Buffalo’s booming film industry, as a cultural center, a community and non-profit anchor, housing… or an amalgam of number of these concepts.
While we still have a ways to go, the team that presented the new vision appears to be upbeat and confident that the process is no longer wishful thinking, but is only a matter of time to bring to fruition. A decade ago, people would have scoffed at this notion. Today, it seems as if there is more of a “shoot for the stars” attitude, because “anything is possible” when it comes to Buffalo’s bright and bold future.