The effort to redevelop the downtown Buffalo waterfront has taken another step forward. Developers are being sought for vacant sites at Canalside.
The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has issued a Request For Proposals for two parcels on the South Aud Block, along Marine Drive, at Main Street.
"Near where, people are familiar with the Tim Horton's statue. One parcel is right there. And then the other parcel would be immediately adjacent to where the Explore and More Children's Museum construction is taking place right now," said Sam Hoyt, ECHDC Board Member and Empire State Development Regional President. Hoyt says, the RFP seeks mixed-use proposals with street level activation.
"Retail, restaurant, entertainment. And three to five stories of potentially residential above that," Hoyt said.
ECHDC prefers locally-owned and operated establishments as opposed to national chains. And Hoyt says the residential component is important.
"We want it to be a four season destination. A neighborhood that continues to emphasize kind of the incredible history that that district and that footprint represents. I mean, we sometimes under estimate, and forget, that being the Western Terminus of the Erie Canal puts us on the map in kind of a unparalleled way. And I think it's important that we continue to celebrate that," Hoyt said.
They're also hoping to get proposals from all real estate developers.
"Not just the big ones. But we're hoping that some of the smaller developers who are doing projects throughout the region look at this as an opportunity to be a part of the renaissance of Buffalo," Hoyt said.
The RFPs are due in October. And Hoyt says a decision should be announced by the end of 2017.