USAN Board Meets and Approves Projects to Improve Third Street and Traffic Flow in Downtown Niagara Falls

January 30, 2020

See images of the The Verrazzano on 3rd here

The USA Niagara Development Corporation (USAN) Board of Directors met today and approved three items, including a $60,000 grant for the historic rehabilitation of 531 Third St., naming a preferred developer for additional properties at 500 and 512 Third St. and procurement of consultant services for a Niagara Falls Transportation Management Study. These projects will continue USAN’s work to rebuild the historic Third Street neighborhood and manage the inbound traffic and parking demand surrounding Niagara Falls State Park.

“USAN continues to build on its previous investments in the Third Street Business District,” said USAN President Anthony Vilardo. “Funding towards the newly renovated “The Verrazzano on 3rd” and naming TM Montante a preferred developer for 500 and 512 Third St. will address a shortage of market rate housing and help to improve and advance retail and commercial activity downtown. It’s an exciting time for this unique downtown Niagara Falls neighborhood.”

The Verrazzano, a recently renovated century-old building at 531 Third St., will receive a $60,000 grant for reimbursement for a portion of the capital improvements, facade improvements and first-floor commercial /retail space renovations. The estimated nearly $700,000 historic rehabilitation of the 17,000-square-foot mixed-use, three-story building, which is eligible for inclusion on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, is a welcome addition in the promotion of the Third Street Business District. The property features 4,000 square feet of first-floor commercial/retail space with three storefronts and 10 upscale apartments on the second and third floors. Currently there is one commercial tenant (Reddy Bikeshare) and more tenants are expected soon.  Named after Italian explorer Giovanni Verrazzano, the building was previously named the Richards Apartments after Richard O. Seippel, who built the building in 1913 as the Seippel Bakery. See images of The Verrazzano on 3rd here.

“We are pleased to be part of the continued efforts to redevelop and revitalize 3rd Street in Niagara Falls.  The collaboration between the public and private sectors is crucial to this and we appreciate the state’s support of our significant investment in The Verrazzano,” said Majority Owner Mr. Robert Nuchereno, who is the founding principal of Arista Real Estate & Development, LLC, a boutique real estate firm in Western New York.

TM Montante Development was named the preferred developer for the restoration/rehabilitation of the USAN-owned commercial properties at 500 and 512 Third St., as well as an adjacent vacant lot at 518 Third St. and an adjacent parking lot at 503 Main St.  The projects will be vibrant, mixed-use commercial developments and are critical for the continued development of the Third Street Business District. Preliminary plans envision the reuse of both existing structures. The building at 500 Third St. would contain ground floor space suitable for retail/restaurant use as well as commercial space above. The property at 512 Third St. would contain retail/restaurant space and use of adjacent outdoor areas. The two projects would be connected through a finished outdoor seating area, for use by on-site tenants or for special events. The properties were acquired by USAN as part of the strategic land acquisition program funded through the second phase of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion.  An RFP for the properties was issued in July 2019 and gave respondents the option to submit proposals on one or more of the six properties offered through the RFP. USAN and TMMD will now negotiate the principal terms and conditions of a Development Agreement. See renderings for 500 & 512 Third Street projects here

“The redevelopment of these historic buildings will add to the growing momentum on Third Street in Niagara Falls,” said TM Montante Development President Chris Campos.  “These properties are also immediately adjacent to the new parkland that is being developed as part of the Robert Moses Parkway Removal Project.  It is our plan to bring a vibrant mix of commercial uses to these buildings, which will serve as a bridge between the new parkland and the downtown core.”

Lastly, the USAN Board approved a one-year consultant contract, not to exceed $300,000, to WSP USA Inc. for a Niagara Falls Transportation Management Study. The study will develop best practices to address the unique traffic and parking needs of downtown Niagara Falls.  It will identify multi-modal strategies and tactics proven effective in other places and develop a series of projects to be implemented in both the short and long-term.  The goal is to best leverage and coordinate state and local investments in parking and infrastructure within Niagara Falls in order to best address current and future transportation and parking needs.

“The growth in the tourism market necessitates a new look at how people get to and from our greatest asset.  We have heard the concerns of residents and business owners and are ready to lead the effort to improve our transportation network” Vilardo said.

Through its State Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund, NYSDOT has agreed to provide USAN a $300,000 grant to fund the study. These funds will reimburse USAN for its direct consultant expenses in advancing the study.  

City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino said, "The City of Niagara Falls welcomes the continued assistance of USAN in the reinvigoration of the Third Street Business District. The investment by Arista Real Estate and Development in "The Verrazzano" reestablishes a beautiful historic building in the District. The addition of TM Montante as the preferred developer for other properties in the District adds a proven developer to the roster of participants in the renewal of the Third Street Business District. The City of Niagara Falls is excited to see these projects move forward and look forward to future developments."  

About USA Niagara Development Corporation

USAN, a subsidiary of Empire State Development, is solely dedicated to the support and promotion of economic development initiatives in Niagara Falls by leveraging private investment and encouraging growth and renewal of the tourism industry in the City of Niagara Falls.  For more information, visit https://esd.ny.gov/usa-niagara-development-corporation-6

Contact:

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