A request for proposals (RFP) has been issued to redevelop the North Aud Block in Buffalo, New York. This is the State’s final remaining parcel to be developed in the revitalized Canalside area on the waterfront.
This RFP presents an opportunity for experienced real estate developers to transform the nearly two-acre site, which is key to the ongoing revitalization of downtown Buffalo.
The Aud Block’s rebirth dates to 2014, when ECHDC completed the construction of a series of “canals” on the South Aud Block, based on the historic Erie and Hamburg canals. These shallow waterways support ice skating in the winter, roller-skating in the fall and other recreational activities during the summer, including paddle and pedal boating. Canalside’s construction also included the creation of public spaces and bridges.
New York State previously committed $10 million in funding to transform the North Aud Block, which will be made available to the selected developer to support site infrastructure.
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, a state entity, envisions that the project will include retail, restaurants, office space, apartments, a hotel and structured parking within several buildings. The project will incorporate portions of the 19th-century street grid while allowing modernization that acknowledges the site’s 21st-century surroundings and infrastructure, blending historic details with the current surrounding City.
The site is primarily vacant and was once part of a superblock and home to Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, which the state demolished in 2009. This RFP permits respondents to propose a variety of uses, though proposals are required to include certain mandatory design features, as per the Canalside Design Guidelines.
The assumed development plan includes nearly 425,000 gross square feet in several buildings with an estimated 200 residential apartments and commercial spaces, office/operations space for ECHDC, and up to 450 parking spaces located in a structured ramp that would be constructed both below and above grade. The multiple building development is encouraged to be set within a reconstructed historic street pattern, allowing more of Lloyd Street and Commercial Street to be reconstructed to complete missing sections.
The added canal features have grown in popularity and visitor numbers each year, and are attracting private investment in other new amenities, such as Explore & More: The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum and the upcoming Heritage Point, which is currently under construction and expected to open in 2023.
Respondents to this RFP may propose any mix of uses that will advance the development goals and meet all the development requirements described in the RFP.
Proposals are due by 3 p.m. on September 1, 2022.
Canalside image courtesy Office of the New York Governor.