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ECHDC Board Approves Contracts to Move Buffalo’s Outer Harbor Projects Forward

Architectural and engineering design services for Terminal B, First Buffalo River Marina and vacant land on the Outer Harbor will lead to projects that create recreational opportunities on Buffalo’s Waterfront

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) Board of Directors met today and approved three contracts that will move projects forward on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. The contracts will provide for the architectural and engineering design for projects emphasizing recreation in three unique waterfront zones: First Buffalo River Marina; the vast acreage between Wilkeson Pointe and Bell Slip; and Terminal B. The overall goals of the Outer Harbor project include improving use and enjoyment of the Outer Harbor, enhancing bicycle and pedestrian access and minimizing adverse impacts on communities and the environment. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, through the Buffalo Billion II, has committed $15 million for these projects.

“Buffalo’s Outer Harbor holds so much potential,” said ECHDC Board Chair Robert Gioia. “The area is popular with visitors who are enjoying the waterfront thanks to the projects the state has completed at Wilkeson Pointe, Buffalo Harbor State Park and Lakeside Complex, and these additional plans will outline the next steps for Outer Harbor investment, creating even more recreational opportunities and access.”

The three board approvals will move forward the initial master planning work already completed for the three waterfront zones on the Outer Harbor.  The Outer Harbor Preferred Plan was approved by the ECHDC Board in June 2019 (Read more here).  The consultant teams will now continue with a scope of work that includes design, construction document development and signature submittals.

The first approval is for a contract with Olin Partnership, Ltd dba OLIN for architectural and engineering and design services for a portion of the First Buffalo River Marina Capital Improvements Project. The project will open this space to the public, while retaining boat docking and storage. To allow for increased access, use and sustainability at the First Buffalo River Marina, ECHDC is planning for the following programmatic improvements:

  • Vehicular entrance, circulation, loading and limited parking for marina users
  • Boardwalks and pathways for pedestrian and bicycle circulation
  • Soil remediation, site grading, stormwater management, landscape, water feature and habitat restoration
  • Marine structures and shoreline improvements
  • Relocation of Queen City Bike Ferry landing and related circulation
  • Site access, safety and security for various areas and types of users
  • Connecting Terminal Grain Elevator activation, asbestos remediation and interpretive elements
  • Outdoor winter boat storage areas
  • Free standing kiosk to include concessions, shaded seating and restrooms
  • Site and architectural utilities infrastructure
  • Lighting, signage and wayfinding

OLIN is a women-owned full-service design business with more than 40 years of experience in successful placemaking, including the design of multi-functional public landscapes and vibrant urban waterfronts.

The next approval is for a contract with Bergmann for architectural and engineering design services related to the Terminal B Capital Improvements Project. The generally good condition and proximity of Terminal B to the recently-opened Lakeside Bike Park makes an investment in this building a logical next step for Outer Harbor activation. To allow for increased access, use and sustainability at the Terminal B and surrounding site, ECHDC is planning for programmatic improvements, including:

  • Expansion of ecological restoration area
  • Extension of multi-use and single-track bike trails
  • Exploration of ropes course development
  • Sloped lawn amphitheater
  • Flexed paved outdoor event/recreation space
  • Extension of utilities to Terminal B
  • Demolition of the exterior envelope of the existing Terminal B building to create a multi-use events space
  • Design of a new structure within the exposed existing Terminal B structure to house concessions, restrooms and ECHDC storage area incorporating wind protection strategies, green roof, elevated waterfront overlook and catwalk
  • Improvements along the quay wall to provide life safety for users of the area.
  • Vehicular circulation and parking
  • Site utilities to Terminal B from Fuhrmann Boulevard, lighting and signage

Bergmann is a New York State full-service design firm with an office in Buffalo. 

The final approval is for a contract with Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects LLP for architectural and engineering design services for the Buffalo Outer Harbor Access & Activation Civic Improvements Project, Phase 2 for the area between Wilkeson Pointe and Bell Slip.  The project will consist of several capital improvements and investments that allow for increased public access and activation of the Outer Harbor. The final improvements will include: environmental remediation, active and passive open space, habitat restoration, food and beverage opportunities, comfort stations, signage and wayfinding, and better water access around Bell Slip. The improvements will occur throughout acreage that remains largely vacant and underutilized.  TWMLA is a NYS-certified WBE.

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