More plans on the way for the Outer Harbor

Apr 8, 2014

Another step in the transformation of the Outer Harbor takes place today. Development companies will be receiving requests for proposals, gauging their interest in planning the use for 150 acres of waterfront property.

Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Empire State Development Corporation has pre-qualified 36 consulting firms who will be offered the chance to develop a plan. The development corporation's Outer Harbor Advisory Committee voted Monday to send out the RFPs. The committee hopes to have a choice by May 12.

Chairman Robert Gioia says there are some guiding principles on what's being sought.
"Access.Variability.Financial payback and process," Gioia said.

"The governor said very clearly I want a robust public process and I want the best experts that you can find to help you with that process. Because this is a chance of a lifetime for this community and it's something we have all been waiting for for decades."

Even though the plan won't be ready until fall, Gioia says some construction will take place this year to make the site more accessible to the public.

The land is between the Times Beach Nature Preserve and the old Port Terminal. The NFTA is slated to transfer ownership to the development corporation within weeks.

Buffalo's executive director of the Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning Brendan Mehaffy is cautioning against building new office space on the Waterfront, fearing that it will conflict with Downtown.