The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has (finally) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of the North Aud Block. The parcel, formerly part of the block that once contained the War Memorial Auditorium, is located along the canal system at Main Street and south of the Interstate 190. Proposals are due September 1.
The RFP permits a variety of proposed land uses, though Proposals are required to include certain mandatory design features such as multiple building design, sub-grade parking, reservation of space for ground floor (towpath and street levels) retail, development of public rights-of-way, creation of public corridors, canal lighting, and providing a mixed-use development plan that further enhances the Canalside area into a vibrant, urban neighborhood. ECHDC is prepared to provide the developer with $10.0 million for capital construction costs related to the historic rights-of-way, public corridors, and canal lighting.
The nearly two-acre vacant parcel would include retail, restaurants, office space, residential units, hotel uses and structured parking within several buildings that acknowledge portions of the 19th century street grid while allowing for the site to blend into the current 21st century surroundings and infrastructure. The assumed development plan for Parcel A1 includes nearly 425,000 sq.ft. in several buildings with an estimated 200 residential units, commercial and retail spaces, office/operations space for ECHDC, and up to 450 parking spaces located in a structured ramp that would be constructed both below and above grade.
According to the RFP document, a multiple building development should be set within reconstructed historic street pattern, allowing for Lloyd Street and Commercial Street to continue through the site. Public access to the site shall continue across the bridge, from Main Street, Pearl Street and Lower Terrace. The reconstructed streets will be pedestrian only and emergency vehicle access at select locations. Vehicle access to the sub terrain parking structure should be along Lower Terrace.
In the design guidelines, towpaths and streets are both designated circulation and public space. The guidelines continue, “In order for Canalside to be successful, active first floor uses are necessary throughout the area. Given the location and “four front sides” to these parcels, attention to layout and detail will be critical to provide multiple, strong retail opportunities along the towpath and streets while addressing loading, access to upper floors and refuse.”
ECHDC is seeking Proposals that are responsive to, but are not limited to, the following development priorities:
1. Aligning with the goals of the Canalside Modified General Project Plan;
2. Meeting Project requirements;
3. Providing a mixed-use facility that enhances the Canalside neighborhood offerings;
4. Maximizing ground floor (towpath and street levels) activation with a mix of national and local retail and restaurants;
5. Encouraging residential units with balconies on upper floors or accessible roof decks;
6. Maximizing economic impact;
7. Maximizing visitor and pedestrian traffic at Canalside;
8. Maximizing Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges towards ensuring long-term sustainability of Canalside;
9. Minimizing the project contribution required by ECHDC;
10. Featuring meaningful participation of New York State-certified Minority and Woman-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in the Project Team;
11. Incorporating sustainable building practices and LEED Silver Core & Shell; and
12. Recognizing the principles outlined in “A Public Statement of Principles for High Road Development of Buffalo’s Waterfront.”
A developer is expected to be chosen by April.