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ECHDC Board Authorizes Contracts that Will Advance Improvements on Buffalo’s Waterfront

Canalside Gateway Building and Bell Slip Improvements will begin

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) today met and authorized several contracts that advance the Canalside Gateway Building and Bell Slip Improvement projects on Buffalo’s waterfront. 

“The Canalside Gateway Building and Bell Slip Improvement projects will encourage and support more community use and public access on Buffalo’s waterfront,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “These improvements build upon exciting recently completed or under construction projects at Canalside and the Outer Harbor and will further connect the city to its waterfront.” 

Improvements to the area around the Bell Slip on the Outer Harbor will provide a sense of place by reorganizing the existing parking surface, providing a comfort station with restrooms, and enhancing landscaping. The Greenbelt trail will be modified to connect to the Fuhrmann Greenway at a new roundabout. The existing Greenbelt trail along the edge of the Bell Slip will remain, but with a narrower width for pedestrian traffic. Along the backside of the comfort station will be a concrete patio with a walking path leading to the edge of the slip that will conclude at an overlook. A large portion of the site will include soil amendments and landscaping improvements, including forest, meadows, grasslands and pollinator fields. Renderings are available here.

Several contracts associated with the Bell Slip improvement project, with contract terms running from September 2022 through December 31, 2023, were authorized by the ECHDC Board. They include:

  • Sitework construction, awarded to Scott Lawn Yard at a contract amount not to exceed $2,231,571. Scott Lawn Yard's scope of service will include clearing the existing paved site surfaces, establishing the site parameters, excavating for site utilities, installation of landscaping and fence materials, new surface walkways and drives, and site enclosures.
  • General construction, awarded to Javen Construction Company, Inc. at a contract amount not to exceed $1,869,000. Javen Construction’s scope of services will include new steel framing, steel framing preparation and painting, metal stud framing and wallboard, building enclosures, interior finishes, and select site work adjacent to the building. 
  • Electrical construction, awarded to CIR Electrical Construction Corporation at a contract amount not to exceed $1,086,088. CIR Electric’s scope of service will include routing the new electric service from Fuhrmann Boulevard to the Bell Slip site, distribution of electric service within the Bell Slip site, and exterior lighting. 
  • Mechanical construction, awarded to M.K.S. Plumbing Corporation at a contract amount not to exceed $131,000. M.K.S. Plumbing’s scope of service will include routing the new mechanical and plumbing service from Fuhrmann Boulevard to the Bell Slip comfort station, distribution of gas and water lines, and installation of mechanical systems within the enclosed building. 

The North Aud Block redevelopment, a multiple building development atop a subsurface parking structure with buildings to reflect upon the historic street grid that once defined the area and sit within the current context of Canalside, will start with the construction of the Gateway Building.  The multi-story, masonry Gateway Building on the North Aud Block will be the first stop for all Canalside visitors. It will provide information, public restrooms, security, retail and ADA accessibility between the two-level Canalside site, while consolidating waterfront operations at the same location. Renderings are available here.  The Board authorized ECHDC to enter into a consultant agreement for construction management services with Buffalo Construction Consultants, Inc. at a contract amount not to exceed $1,250,898 for the Gateway Building.  Construction is expected to begin in 2023.

Funding for all these contracts is from the New York Power Authority, through relicensing agreements tied to the operation of the Niagara Power Project. 

The ECHDC Board of Directors also:

  • Authorized ECHDC to enter into an amended agreement with New York Power Authority (NYPA), Erie County, the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Empire State Development.  Governor Kathy Hochul previously announced this measure, which will jumpstart four major projects on the Outer Harbor and at Canalside. These projects complement recreation and transportation measures that will promote pedestrian access and continued equitable growth of the waterfront.
  • Authorized ECHDC to enter into a contract amendment with TY Lin International to continue to provide North Aud Block development infrastructure architectural and engineering services. The total amount is now $1,559,248. Funding for this contract is from NYPA, through relicensing agreements tied to the operation of the Niagara Power Project. 

About Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) is governed by a nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors. The seven voting directors are recommended by the New York State Governor and are appointed by the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development as sole shareholder of ECHDC. The two non-voting, ex-officio director positions are held by the Erie County Executive and the City of Buffalo Mayor.

As a subsidiary of Empire State Development, the state’s chief economic development agency, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor and the Outer Harbor that is attracting critical mass, private investment and enhance the enjoyment of the waterfront for residents and tourists in Western New York. Its vision is to revitalize Western New York’s waterfront and restore economic growth to Buffalo based on the region’s legacy of pride, urban significance, and natural beauty.

Contact:

Pamm Lent (Governor’s Office) | [email protected] | (716) 846-8309

Laura Magee (ECHDC) | [email protected] | (716) 846-8239