ECHDC Schedules Public Open House for Input on North Aud Block at Canalside

August 28 meeting will seek feedback from stakeholders and the public on preliminary concepts for site design

August 23, 2019

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) today announced it will hold a public open house on Wednesday, August 28 to discuss the conceptual design for development parcels, street and parking facilities on the northern part of the former Memorial Auditorium Block, more commonly known as the North Aud Block, at Canalside. In August 2018, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $10 million in funding to transform the North Aud Block. This project aims to reintroduce portions of the block’s historic street grid, including walkable areas. It will also create parking and other underground infrastructure. These publicly-funded improvements will ultimately support future private development.

“We are looking to reintroduce elements of the historic street pattern that once traversed the Erie Canal at what we now call the North Aud Block,” said Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chairman Robert Gioia.  “With our consultants and based on stakeholder and community input, we continue to refine our design ideas for the site.  We welcome your feedback as we move forward in planning for this important site.”

The North Aud Block is bounded by Lower Terrace to the north, Main Street to the east, the canals to the south, and Commercial and Pearl streets to the west. See a map of property here.

The public open house and input session will be held at the Honda VIP Pavilion at Canalside (entrance off Perry Street near Main Street in Buffalo) on Wednesday, August 28, from 5 to 7 p.m.  There will be a presentation at 5:30 p.m.  followed by an opportunity to provide feedback and speak with the design consultants.  The purpose of the meeting is to share preliminary design concepts and seek feedback from members of the public. Throughout the project, the ECHDC has sought feedback from stakeholders and members of the public through interviews, small group meetings, a design workshop, an online survey and public open houses.

TY Lin International, a multi-discipline engineering firm with more than 60 years of experience in successful infrastructure development—including the design of multi-functional public landscapes and urban buildings—was selected by ECHDC to design, bid and provide construction management services for the development of infrastructure on the North Aud Block.  

ECHDC previously completed construction in 2014 of a series of “canals” on the South Aud Block based on the historical Erie and Hamburg canals. These canals are shallow, and support ice skating in the winter and other activities including paddle and pedal boats in the summer. Construction also included the creation of public spaces and bridges. These added canal features have grown in popularity and attendance each year and are attracting private investment, such as the newly opened Explore & More Children’s Museum and Heritage Point, which will break ground soon.

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.

Pamm Lent | [email protected] | 716-846-8309 | (800) 260-7313
Laura Magee | [email protected] | 716-846-8239 | (800) 260-7313