With a trio of pipe dreams on paper, I thought I would share another idea I have been mulling for some time. This will revolve around two massive parking lots and one densely packed neighborhood otherwise known as the Cobblestone District.
Let’s call a spade a spade. The Cobblestone District is horribly named. It should be the Cobblestone Parking District. After all, 75% of the neighborhood is composed of two massive surface lots that are kept empty expect for 100 days a year when the arena is in use. These lots were spawned due to the construction of the arena, but I can’t imagine that this was the only use that planners could have come up with for two such massive pieces of land.
The one surviving block has become a well-used strip of property with some terrific re-use projects anchoring the side of the block that fronts Mississippi St. The back side (Illinois St.) leaves much to be desired, but most of the buildings are at least occupied at this time. There is still a massive black hole in the old smith shop on the corner of South Park and Illinois that has slowly become an albatross for the neighborhood and the building owner. There are plenty of great re-use ideas on the table for that property, but I doubt anything will ever come of it.
As for the rest; there is nothing. Literally nothing. The streets are paved with Cobblestones but they are utterly pointless as there is nothing that they lead to. This needs to change. There is a slow trickle of development happening on the waterfront and the Buffalo Creek Casino appears to be poised to grow out of the pathetic steel building it currently occupies. By the time these two pieces of the puzzle are complete, I will be 50; but I digress.
The Cobblestone District sits between two very important pieces of Buffalo’s entertainment district. Canalside and the arena make up one bookend and the casino makes up the other. There is a tremendous opportunity for this district to become something similar to Toronto’s Distillery District and act as a solid filler for two major pieces of entertainment in the city. However, the massive plain of concrete needs to rise into something better. I think I may have a solution – or, at least part of one. Continue reading