If the Amtrak passenger train station is moved to the old Central Terminal, it will arrive and depart next to hundreds of new homes, according to a Toronto developer's plan.
Harry Stinson wants to put housing in existing buildings and then fill a large vacant area off Memorial Drive with what he hopes to be affordable housing. However, he is having trouble with Buffalo's new Green Code, currently being revised.
The site is known as the land on which the city usually dumps snow in a bad winter. The new housing would be 500 high-density townhouses, along with a train station as station housing - somewhat similar to many stations in Europe.
The developer says he has already made clear he wants Amtrak trains stopping on the property and he has a site.
"We'll make the space available on really good terms. We'd love to see it as part of it. It's a natural place for the train station, the gateway to Buffalo to be," Stinson says. "It's revered in the community as the best place for people to get off and get on. I think it would actually increase train traffic because the station itself is part of the trip, like the theater is part of the show."
Stinson says he is not looking at a piece of the plan here or a piece of the plan there, but the whole plan.
"It's not sort of partial. We're looking at the entire site as one complete village and incorporating housing into the large train shed there right now that goes on for half-a-mile and we're planning on restoring it and building housing into it," Stinson says. "It's quite cool the way the lofts will be built in, but concurrent parallel to that along the approach to the terminal will be a village of approximately 500 homes."
Stinson says he also wants to convert a massive parking ramp deep under Central Terminal into an event space, to make better use of the 100,000 square feet of space. He has also told the city the company would pay for renovations and repairs of the decrepit streets serving the station.
"We offered to take them over and repair them and put new services in. For whatever is there obviously needs to improve. What isn't there we will build," Stinson says. "So when you are putting a village in of hundreds of homes, we will have to build infrastructure for it. We'll just work out the logistics with the city. I'm used to developing without incentives and all these plans and programs. It just has to survive on its own."