Niagara Falls, NY seeks redeveloper for key property next to park in heritage district

On July 9, 2018, the USA Niagara Development Corp. (USAN) issued a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) to determine interest from qualified parties to redevelop a key parcel in the Buffalo Avenue Heritage District of downtown Niagara Falls, New York.

USAN gained control of the vacant parcel, located at 305 Buffalo Ave., through a strategic land acquisition earlier this year, made possible through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo‘s Buffalo Billion phase II.

This opportunity to partner on a development that will complement the historic neighborhood setting of Buffalo Avenue and contribute significantly to the range of tourism and hospitality options in Niagara Falls presents a unique opportunity in this iconic destination,” ESD Senior Vice President Christopher Schoepflin said. “We look forward to reviewing the proposals that will stimulate the local economy.

USAN will consider concepts for potential uses that are consistent with the City of Niagara Falls’ “R-4 Heritage” zoning district requirements and USAN design guidelines for agency-assisted projects in this area, including residential, lodging, limited commercial and mixed-use projects that are of a scale/design consistent with the historic character of the neighborhood. Because of the district’s location and heritage, the RFEI provides a development opportunity to create a unique design that could serve as an upscale alternative to conventional downtown developments. USAN intends to transfer ownership of the property for new development.

Located a block from the American Rapids Bridge connection to Goat Island and Niagara Falls State Park, the one-acre site is in a traditional residential neighborhood to the south of the more commercial areas of downtown Niagara Falls, at the terminus of Third Street at Buffalo Avenue. The site is the location of a former residential campus and the lot measures 230 feet by 204 feet. The original estate entrance gates, as well as a portion of the driveway, remain on the site.

Niagara Falls State Park immediately abuts the southern property line, along a steep hillside above the recently re-established “Riverway” on the Upper Niagara River. USAN plans to restore a pedestrian-only right-of-way along the site’s western edge (i.e., former Third Street right-of-way) to connect from the city, down the hill into the State Park and to the river’s edge.

Proposals will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Proposed use(s) and improvements on the site;
  • Type, bulk and size of each component of the development program;
  • Development timeline identifying the estimated length of time to reach key milestones;
  • How project will advance development objectives in the Buffalo Avenue Heritage District, including supporting tourism and stimulating economic activity, as well as reflecting the community and its history;
  • Conceptual sketch and/or rendering showing overall site plan of proposed project; and
  • Estimate of economic impact.

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.

Proposals are due Friday, September 7, 2018. USAN will use responses and recommendations generated by this RFEI process to inform a planned request for proposals (RFP) process.

Image via Google Maps.

See full RFEI.

See USA Niagara Development Corp. website.

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