Building Buffalo Podcast – Sitting Back Sipping Some Beer

We welcome our first guest to the Building Buffalo Podcast as Matt Kahn of Big Ditch Brewery joins us to discuss Big Ditch and their part in the revival of downtown Buffalo. Tom and Chris also spend time talking about the vital role beer played in Buffalo’s past and where it fits in our future.

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Building Buffalo Podcast – Episode 4

Episode 4 of the Building Buffalo podcast touches on the 198 and the state of other major roadway projects that are in need of attention around WNY. We also discuss how the best integrate the Buffalo Zoo into Delaware Park in order to allow for future expansion of the Zoo itself.

Lastly, we talk about the recent news about Canalside and the need for immediate action in that district to ensure Buffalo’s most prominent entertainment district sees actual development this decade.

Building Buffalo Podcast - Fixing the 198 and Improving Delaware Park by Buildingbuffalopodcast on Mixcloud

Building Buffalo Podcast – Episode 3

Tom and I get together to discuss Buffalo’s inferiority complex along with a number of burgeoning projects around the city. We touch on the excitement of Solar City and the prospects of the continued hotel development downtown.

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Building Buffalo Podcast – Episode 2

In episode two of the Building Buffalo Podcast, Tom and I discuss the gondola project that has been gaining press and momentum as of late and the need for greater focus on projects throughout the city that need more attention. We also spend some time talking about the negative impact obstructionists have had on progress in WNY and where we’re headed despite the actions of a loud minority.

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https://www.mixcloud.com/BuildingBuffaloPodcast/building-buffalo-podcast-episode-2/

 

 

ECHDC should consider art to compliment grain elevator lighting project

Canalside proper isn’t the only area of Buffalo’s waterfront getting dressed up with art. The Connecting Terminal Grain Elevator will be lit up this summer (maybe fall?) as part of Erie Canal Harbor Development Company’s plan to light the grain elevators up and down the Buffalo River.

Exactly when the rest of the elevators will be lit is anyone’s guess, however. After ECHDC approved the original master plan to light the elevators and bridges along the river, it was later announced that only the Connecting Terminal Elevator would be getting the lighting treatment which was disappointing despite the impressive capabilities that the project will have.

While we wait to see if ECHDC will change their course thanks to the Ohio Street streetscape project and increased interest in that corridor, the Connecting Terminal will be lit this year. Original reports pointed to July 4th as the unveiling date but it is expected to be pushed closer to the fall at this point.

It’s about time that the Connecting Terminal Elevator was list. It’s a hulking figure along the waterfront and it needs to be changed from a looming eyesore into something that compliments the surrounding area. One thing I wish was considered was adorning the face of the elevator (on both sides) with a large mural as opposed to simply using the lighting project.

The lighting project will be a terrific installation and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing the execution. But with sunset so late in the day in the summertime and the expected operating hours of the lighting itself being somewhat limited (especially in the summer months), the elevator will still be standing as nothing more than a grey monolith for most of the day.

Why not paint a mural on it that can be enjoyed during the day and at night? Continue reading

Silent Poets is a step forward for Canalside

Public art will continue to grow around Canalside this summer as Buffalo’s newest installation was put in yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Rising.

Silent Poets will reside at Canalside until late 2016, joining the ever popular Shark Girl and other public art pieces in the downtown park district. Meanwhile, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Company continues to inch towards completion of the lighting project on the Connecting Terminal Grain Elevator across the river.

After getting a chance to cruise by Silent Poets last night, I have to say they’re incredibly impressive. The addition of Silent Poets is a definitive step forward for Canalside as the area is still lacking any semblance of permanence as it pertains to activities and attractions. This new piece of art is also a much larger statement when compared to Shark Girl, which has its own level of whimsy but certainly isn’t the jaw-dropping installation that Canalside needs.

Shark Girl certainly has her own rightful place in the Canalside landscape. In fact, her new home near the re-watered, historically aligned canals is perfect. The sculpture is nestled in nicely in what should be a highly trafficked area which should eventually allow Shark Girl to be a tremendous compliment to the greater Aud Block development. We just aren’t there yet, which is why so much of the hubbub regarding her installation rubbed the wrong way.

Many of Canalside’s parcels are set for development (despite how it looks), which means they’re hardly available for a massive installation like Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate. That being said, the goal should be to provide a permanent installation that draws crowds no matter what the weather is like. As impressive as Silent Poets is, I’m not sure it does the trick. Continue reading

Streetscape projects are key for continued progress in pockets of downtown

Of the many thoughts I took away from Columbus – and trips to other cities for that matter – was how well unified many of their districts were. The areas of Columbus that I was able to spend a lot of time in were very impressive in look, atmosphere and layout.

As I explained in my original Buffalo and Columbus post, the Ohio city benefits greatly from having three thriving work-play districts that run up into each other. Short North, the North Market and the Arena District are basically all on the same street, which makes finding things to do a breeze.

Buffalo doesn’t exactly lack unified districts – Allentown and Elmwood Village immediately spring to mind – but I do feel like there are many parts of our city that are disjointed. Steps are being taken to amend this through streetscape and other improvement projects and I think we’re absolutely on the right track.

For example, a new streetscape project for Genesee Street between Oak and East Huron will not only cleanup and beautify a stretch of Genesee that runs by a number of key downtown properties, but it will also connect through to the Cars Sharing Main Street project. Projects like this are exactly the type of thing that should be targeted in other areas of the city. Continue reading