ECHDC picks firm to oversee upcoming Canalside construction projects

Jan 22, 2018

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has awarded a contract to an engineering firm that will be responsible for overseeing numerous elements of a forthcoming construction in Buffalo's Canalside.

LiRo Engineers was chosen by ECHDC board members Monday for a Construction Management Services Agreement valued at $1,007,000. That includes a contingency of $232,000. The funding comes from the New York Power Authority.

The firm will serve as advisors during the design phase of a project to build new construction in the Pavilion and Union Block plots along the Commercial Slip. They'll next manage the procurement of construction contractors and supervise other related activities.

Members of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation board meet Monday in downtown Buffalo. They approved a contract for an engineering firm that will advise the ECHDC during some of the steps for an upcoming construction project at Canalside.
Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

"What we need as owners is somebody to represent us, act as our agents, act as our advisors, to help through the things like constructability reviews, cost estimates, scheduling, phasing and packaging of contracts," said Thomas Dee, president of the ECHDC. "They will take this job out and bid it to the contracting community."

The design phase is scheduled to be completed in May. Construction is set to begin in September. Plans call for the addition of permanent restroom facilities and concessions as well as other accommodations to allow for a longer programming season.

It will be just one of several construction projects in the works this year at Canalside. Work continues on the future Explore & More Children's Museum with a goal to open the new building in the late stages of this year. The Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, meanwhile, has plans to work on its hangar building beginning in July. 

Officials at the Naval & Military Park have expressed their excitement over the continuing development of their neighborhood, but did bring concerns before the ECHDC board Monday. 

"The size of the Union Block building will block a large marketing wall that we have, where we have our large banners," said the park's executive director, Brian Roche. "The building is four stories high."

Roche also expressed concern for the additional concessions and meeting spaces, some of which may be rented by outside parties, that will soon enter the neighborhood. According to the Naval Park head, they are simply asking for a fair and level competitive playing field when those other facilities are opened.