Local
9:00 am
Tue January 14, 2014

ECHDC takes title of Outer Harbor

The future shape of Buffalo's Waterfront became more clear Monday with a major event company taking over Canalside and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation taking over the Outer Harbor.

Buffalo's Canalside.
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

With major projects on the Waterfront well along, from the conversion of the old Donovan State Office Building to a hotel and law office complex to continuing construction of a replica canal complex, the corporation chose Global Spectrum for management over continuing a relationship with Buffalo Place.

The company shares ownership with the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team.

ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia says the choice was very complex.
              
"There were three parts to the proposal, to the RFP. One was for operation and maintenance. One was for rink maintenance. And, the other one was programming and event planning. So you had three and there were only two entities which bid on all three. That was Buffalo Place and Global Spectrum."

Gioia says he hopes the two will work together on the continuation of the Thursday and Saturday concerts which are now completely on the Waterfront. He says a year from now people will be using this winter weather to skate on the canals.

Less visible during the corporation meeting was the final legal takeover of the NFTA property on the Outer Harbor. Gioia says the future of some land has been decided but the future of 150 acres of vacant land is yet to be decided.
            
"We really don't know what's going to be going on out there. Remembering that the Gallagher Beach and small boat harbor parcel is that of New York State Parks and Recreation. The commercial buildings will be singled out and then we will have it too sold to a private developer for some job creation."

Gioia says it would help planning for the Inner and Outer Harbor if there were final plans for the planned new bridge across the harbor, connecting the two.