Project plan

ECHDC confirms overall project plan for outer harbor and hires construction manager for future improvements

(Images courtesy of Empire State Development)

Mon February 8, 2021 4:40 PM

The work will be carried out in phases

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. met and confirmed the General Project Plan (GPP) for the Buffalo Outer Harbor Civic Improvement and Land Use Project with minor modifications. This GPP affirmation is the culmination of six years of planning, community engagement and coordination with the City of Buffalo and others and outlines future improvements to the City’s Lake Erie waterfront that will build on earlier improvements recently made by ECHDC.

Read the confirmed GPP here and see the renderings here.

“Today’s affirmation from the GPP is an exciting milestone for the Outer Harbor,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “This project will improve over 200 acres of land, providing increased access to water and land, open spaces, public amenities and an awareness of local history needed to reconnect the city to its waterfront. Wed.”

The ECHDC granted 60 days for public comment on the GPP – an extension of the required 30 days – at the request of several organizations and individuals. The public comment period replaced a public hearing on the GPP due to COVID-19 security measures. In response to comments received from the public, several minor changes and/or corrections have been made to the BPPs adopted in November:

√ Zoning code at 901 Fuhrmann Blvd. (Terminal B): Zoning has been listed as N-1C, Urban Core (Mixed-Use Core). The zoning has been corrected to N-1S, urban core (secondary employment center).

√ Cultural Arts: The addition of Cultural Arts has been added to the discussion of site-wide elements, particularly under Passive and Active Recreational Facilities.

√ First Buffalo River Marina: The last paragraph of the description for this subzone has been removed entirely, clarifying that no mixed-use development will take place on this site.

The project will be carried out in phases, with completion over a 20-year period, or as funding becomes available. Phase 1, estimated to cost $44 million, will be funded by the Buffalo Billion, ECHDC – through the New York Power Authority (NYPA) through license renewal agreements related to the operation of the project Niagara Power – and federal sources. This initial phase, which will begin by the end of 2021, includes the creation of new and improved open spaces, increased access to land and water, the addition of toilet blocks and passive recreational facilities and active. Improvements to more than 50 acres of upland and watered properties, including the creation of aquatic habitat in No. 3 slipway, rehabilitation of Terminal B, and improvements at Bell Slip and Wilkeson Pointe, would occur during of this first phase.

The total budget for the GPP project is estimated at $151 million. Subsequent phases will be implemented when funding is secured.

With the assertion of the Outer Harbor GPP, the board authorized ECHDC to enter into a consultancy agreement not to exceed $545,400 with Turner Construction Co. for construction management services associated with the plan. Turner is a national, multi-disciplinary construction management firm and its team for the Outer Harbor project includes Rodriguez Construction Group (MBE), AA Report Writing & Consulting (WBE) and Trophy Point LLC (SDVOB). The Turner team will represent ECHDC throughout the pre-construction, construction and post-construction phases of Phase 1; retain responsibility for the day-to-day management of the construction process; and is committed to delivering a high quality project on time and within budget.

(Images courtesy of Empire State Development)


The ECHDC Board also authorized ECHDC to enter into a three-year agreement with Be Our Guest Ltd., a subsidiary of Rich Products Corp., to manage events and concessions on the front -port, from the Lakeside complex to Wilkeson Pointe, including the bicycle ferry landing. The contract with Be Our Guest, which has managed the Outer Harbor for five years, is a revenue-generating arrangement at no cost to ECHDC.

The ECHDC Board of Directors also:

√ Authorized ECHDC to enter into a consultant amendment for architectural engineering services on the North Aud Block with TY Lin International. The amendment allows the contract to be amended to add additional tasks, including design development and construction documents, for an amount not to exceed $612,234.

√ Approved the design of two Ministry of Transportation parking lots at Canalside. The parking lot rehabilitation is designed to significantly improve visitors’ first impressions of Canalside and downtown Buffalo.

A press release said, “Under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York is making a historic commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. In 2013, nearly 400 acres of land on the outer harbor was transferred from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to ECHDC. As part of this transfer, Buffalo Harbor State Park was designated as the 180th state park in the New York system and the first in the city of Buffalo. The approximately 247 remaining acres of land north of Buffalo Harbor State Park are now operated by ECHDC, which has completed several capital improvements to increase public access to and use of this property, and conducted several community-based planning studies that informed the current and future layout of the project site.

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. (ECHDC) is governed by a nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting ex-officio directors. The seven voting directors are recommended by the Governor of New York State and are appointed by the New York State Urban Development Corp. (d/b/a Empire State Development) as sole shareholder of ECHDC. The two nonvoting ex-officio directorships are held by the Erie County Executive and the Mayor of the City of Buffalo.