BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - City officials say they've taken a big step towards makingambitious plans for Buffalo's waterfront a reality.
We may tend to overlook the details when trying to grasp the bigpicture of Buffalo's waterfront plans, but those plans hinged on amajor land transfer by the city to the Harbor Development folks. OnMonday, that deal was announced.
The ten acre site, including the paved parking area in front ofthe HSBC Arena known as the Webster Block, will now become a majorpart of the new $300 million canal side development project.
Rep. Brian Higgins said, "Almost one half of canal side, forcommercial, mixed use development, a parcel of land that's beeneconomically dormant for a long time will become economicallyviable."
The $7.5 million going to the city for the purchase of the landwill be directly invested into Buffalo neighborhoods to help growsmall businesses and create jobs. The city will add another $2.5million into the fund.
"It essentially brings the benefits of waterfront development tothe neighborhoods in the city of Buffalo," said Mayor ByronBrown.
The deal still needs Common Council approval, but a milliondollars for every councilmember's district may be tough to turndown. With land to build on and funding in place, waterfrontplanners believe canal side will be the biggest project in thecity's history. Anchor retailer Bass Pro is still expected to signthe least agreement.
Larry Quinn of the Harbor Development Corporation said, "Give us30 to 45 days and you're going to be shocked at the investmentthat's going to take place in Buffalo."
Assemblyman Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, "I have to be honest.I'm not a Bass Pro advocate, but I am an advocate for redevelopingthe waterfront, and sometimes you have to put a lot of thingstogether in order to make one big thing happen, and I think BassPro is just a piece of that puzzle."
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