Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and his staff revealed Friday six proposals for redeveloping the parking ramp space on East Mohawk Street.
Mayor Brown said redevelopment of the parking ramp is a first step toward creating a new "mobility and innovation" zone along lower Main Street.
"This project will be an engine for the next wave of downtown and City of Buffalo development, a project that will complement the transformation that we're seeing at Canalside, Seneca One, 201 Ellicott Street - where we just saw the sneak peak yesterday of Braymiller market, the downtown entertainment district, and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus," Brown said.
The submissions propose mixed uses, with commercial, residential and retail elements. Candidates, it was explained, were challenged to create plans that activate public spaces and transportation options, as well as walking areas.
"We are extremely pleased with the effort and forethought of developers who really went above and beyond with their designs," said Lisa Hicks, the city's Director of Development. "They were looking to meet future demands for housing, parking, public realm improvements, as downtown continues to grow. The (Request For Proposals) that we issued outlines the city's preferences for mixed use developments that incorporate affordable housing, that envision creative and cost effective solutions for structured parking transportation centers, and reflect the objectives and recommendations coming out of the Future of Mobility study."
City officials hope a final decision will be reached some time this autumn. Brendan Mehaffy, executive director of the Office of Strategic Planning, says all the proposals look good, but the final decision will be based on whether the project may actually be completed.
"I want to emphasize that this is not a pretty picture contest," he said. "There is going to be a lot of work to make sure that the finances work on this project, and that this is a project that is going to happen in Buffalo."
It has not yet been determined exactly how city officials will move forward with a project, nor how it will be financed. Among the considerations, public-private partnerships or selling the property to a developer. In the meantime, the city will continue to own and operate the parking ramp until a redevelopment project is selected and work gets underway.
See the six proposals below (images courtesy City of Buffalo).