Third Street Business District
The goal of the Third Street Business District is to create a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood with commercial, retail and residential development elements that service several market segments and ultimately result in capturing more of the tourist visitation to downtown Niagara Falls. The Third Street corridor represents a transitional zone between downtown and city neighborhoods to the north and east. With its connection to Old Falls Street and the Niagara Falls Conference Center, Third Street is a natural extension of the new urban neighborhood that is being created by the redevelopment on Old Falls Street.
USA Niagara, in partnership with the City of Niagara Falls, completed a $3.7 million comprehensive streetscape and road reconstruction initiative for the Third Street Business District in October 2005. Improvements include the replacement of the water mains, reduction in the size of traffic lanes to allow for widened sidewalks; the planting of trees along the promenade to drive foot traffic; the identification of gateways to the area; and the installation of special markers, new lighting and street furniture.
With financial incentives available through its Grant Program, USA Niagara has helped leverage private investment by assisting with façade and capital improvements to several Third Street buildings, which in turn has led to new commercial, retail and residential developments. A few recent projects include:
- 223 Ferry Avenue – A $700,000 renovation project to a formerly vacant two-story building on the corner of Ferry Avenue and Third Street. Renovations created two second-floor apartments, retail space for a locally-owned craft-beer theme restaurant and retail space for two storefronts.
- 444 Third Street – A retail renovation project to a formerly vacant one-story building. The $500,000 project created retail space for a locally owned restaurant. The project also included acquisition of adjacent property at 440 Third Street for an outdoor patio/forecourt for dining.
- 421 Third Street – A façade restoration and retail renovation project. Renovations of $90,000 upgraded a locally owned and operated restaurant.
- 451 Third Street – An $843,000 restoration and rehabilitation project of an existing 13,000-square-foot, 1920s-era, mixed commercial/retail structure. Formerly vacant for nearly a decade, the building is one of the largest structures in the heart of the Third Street Business District. The project included renovations towards four commercial storefronts and eight residential units.
- 531 Third Street/Verrazzano – 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. 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.
- 500 and 512 Third Street (in progress) – Restoration/rehabilitation of commercial properties, 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.