Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Meets and Approves Construction Management Contract for Canalside Interpretive Structures Project

LiRo Engineers will assist in moving much-anticipated project forward; Project builds on Governor Cuomo’s vision for an exciting, redeveloped waterfront

January 22, 2018

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) Board of Directors met today and approved a contract for construction management services related to the Interpretive Structures Project.  The focus of the project is on interpreting two former buildings located along the Commercial Slip, which will recall the historic 19th-century building massing, while enabling a modern use, architectural, and street scale interpretation, as well as fulfill the public’s request for permanent public restrooms, centralized visitor information and covered programming space.  Groundbreaking is expected by fall 2018.  

The $1 million contract approved today was awarded to LiRo Engineers, Inc., a New York State-based multidisciplinary construction management firm, who will team with SLR Contracting & Service Co (M/WBE) and Foit-Albert Associates (MBE) on the project.  LiRo will advise ECHDC during the preconstruction period, and manage the construction procurement and on-site activities related to the project.

“While we have been discussing the Canalside Interpretive Structures project for quite some time, today’s board action is a major milestone and signals that we can move forward with construction planning in preparation for a shovel in the ground this fall,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia.  “The demand for visitor amenities—like permanent public restrooms and centralized visitor information—that will be provided by these structures has been growing at Canalside.  This is all part of Governor Cuomo’s vision for activating Buffalo’s waterfront, while also satisfying visitor needs at Canalside.”

The Interpretive Structures Project consists of capital improvements and investments that will facilitate increased public amenities, access and activation of the Canalside area.  The Pavilion and Union Block Building, both located along the Commercial Slip, will lengthen Canalside’s programming season and provide visitor services and public restrooms.  LiRo is well-suited for this project, having completed multiple projects for both ECHDC and Empire State Development (ESD) in the past. 

ECHDC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in November 2017 for a well-qualified Construction Management firm to provide pre-construction, construction and post construction management services.   Four proposals were received.  The sites included in the project are City of Buffalo-owned but ECHDC operates and maintains the area under its Management Agreement with the City through 2024.

About Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation 
The 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 nonvoting, 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. For more information on ECHDC, visit