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.

Buffalo Zoo deserves funding for newest projects

The Buffalo Zoo has been taking steps to add to what is already a gleaming attraction in downtown Buffalo. According to the Buffalo News, the Zoo is preparing to seriously invest in a pair of projects.

From the news:

Construction is slated to begin in July on the first phase of the project, a $4 million plan to turn a 1940s barn near the zoo’s parking lot into a new entrance plaza. The zoo hopes to complete that portion of the project by April 2013.

Whether construction on the second phase of the project — a $14 million plan to build a new arctic habitat with expanded polar bear exhibits — will begin in June 2013 will depend on the zoo’s ability to raise the rest of the money for the project.

Creating a new entrance plaza is long overdue for the Zoo (rhyming is fun). The current entrance is far too small and cramped. Without many in-depth details, I would imagine that the new plaza will have a far greater spread and provide more of a grand entryway.

An overhead layout of the proposed Arctic Edge project. (Courtesy: Niagara Greenway)

I’m fearful that the plaza entrance won’t even get off the ground, however. The News detailed that a barn from the 1940s will be part of the project. I can only imagine the uproar in the preservation community if this barn is to be razed to make way for such a project. After all, progress is not as important as preserving every brick laid prior to 1960. Of course, the barn is part of the adaptive re-use of the project as seen in the project proposal. I have to say it is quite understated, but interestingly attractive at the same time.

The more important of the two projects detailed by the News is the new arctic environment that would include an expanded polar bear exhibit. However, it would seem there are some hurdles left to clear in terms of funding. What is more concerning is the fact that the Zoo could lose their two polar bears if the construction of the new exhibit doesn’t get off the ground. Continue reading

Some random thoughts for the outer harbor

This post has been a long time coming. While I don’t consider myself as an expert on city planning, I’ve been around to enough cities to see what does and doesn’t work. This summer got my mind working as to what is still missing from Buffalo

I was able to find my way around the city and took in quite a few of the best activities WNY has to offer. Still, I feel like there is so much potential waiting to be unlocked. For the first time I don’t think Canalside is the center of this. I actually think the Outer Harbor is where the greatest opportunity lies.

The well documented white flag waved by the NFTA has made the enormous expanse that comprises the Outer Harbor available for purchase. With all 60 acres are up for sale, seems like a great chance for someone to do something dramatic, sort of like this.

Allow me to dream big for a moment. Outside of a savior stepping in and saying they will build a brand-spanking new stadium for the Bills on this space (because that would be totally badass), I would love to see the Buffalo Zoo relocated and expanded on a large portion of this land. I understand the capital involved in such a project is rather inconceivable, but I’m simply thinking out loud. Continue reading