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Governor Hochul Names Mark Wendel New Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation President

Wendel Will Lead Governor's Plans To Improve Access to Buffalo's Waterfront, Including Transformational Redevelopment of North Aud Block

ECHDC Board also Approved Contracts to Advance Longshed Building Improvements in Buffalo to Provide a Better Visitor Experience

Governor Kathy Hochul today congratulated Mark Wendel on being named the new president of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation. Wendel will lead the state entity that supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside and the Outer Harbor in Buffalo and work to attract critical mass, private investment and enhance the enjoyment of the waterfront for residents and tourists in Western New York. The ECHDC Board of Directors met today and appointed Wendel as president of the corporation. Today’s appointment is the latest milestone in a series of announcements by Governor Hochul to improve access to Buffalo's waterfront through the acceleration of significant projects and supporting the transformational redevelopment of Canalside's North Aud Block.

“Mark Wendel is a dedicated public servant and Western New Yorker with the talent, experience, and commitment to bring our vision for the region to life,” Governor Hochul said. “With Mark on board at ECHDC, we’re ready to take Buffalo’s waterfront to the next level as a destination for residents and visitors and a catalyst for economic development. I look forward working with him and ECHDC as we continue to break ground, transform the waterfront, and boost the local economy as part of our mission to drive the region forward.”

A Western New York native, Wendel, pictured here, is a registered architect with experience in urban planning, design, and economic development. He has been an employee of the corporation since 2019 and succeeds Steve Ranalli, who earlier this year was named President of the Erie County Stadium Corporation.

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation President Mark Wendel said, “I am excited to continue the development projects and improve waterfront access for the public at both Canalside and the Outer Harbor. Steve did a wonderful job continuing to create both locations as a family destination and I look forward to working with Governor Hochul to build on that success.”

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chairman Robert Gioia said, “The ECHDC Board is excited to welcome Mark Wendel into the role as ECHDC President. Mark is an accomplished professional with a true capacity to effectively advance the mission of ECHDC. That being said, I also want to thank Steve Ranalli for his decade-plus commitment to ECHDC and acknowledge the remarkable progress we’ve seen under his leadership. When he began his role at ECHDC, the Aud was being demolished and the Outer Harbor was a blank slate that few even knew existed, much less visited. Today the North Aud Block is being fully built out and transformed into a mixed-use, urban space. The Outer Harbor now has new amenities, interconnected trails, and we are in the process of redeveloping the terminals – all which bring recreation and tourism to the water’s edge.”

Read the full press release here.