Tielman’s Plans Have No Place in Canalside

The Canalside life cycle is an interesting animal. Once a windswept parking lot, it has grown to one of the most impressive attractions in Western New York as it inches towards completion. Yet, despite all of the positive momentum, the overall project remains beset by hiccups and delays.

Among the most glaring is the utter lack of permanent development outside of One Canalside (which was already there) and HarborCenter (handled by the city and the Pegulas). The historically aligned, replica canals are a visual marvel but the rest of the area is lagging behind. Make no mistake, the progress that has been made at Canalside is nothing short of impressive as there are signs of truly great things on the horizon. The warts are still quite visible, however.

Just today, The Buffalo News indicated that if an expected 2017 groundbreaking for Hofbrauhaus on the East Canal Parcel isn’t met that the German beer haus would move to the Cobblestone District. That’s certainly a win for the Parking Cobblestone District; it’s also a blow for Canalside. Filling the parcel between HarborCenter and One Canalside would add even more density to the already bustling corner while providing a new brick-and-mortar attraction for Canalside visitors to frequent with mixed use space on the second and third floors. By failing to move the underground utility lines, the city and ECHDC have let a key development parcel sit fallow while leaving Hofbrauhaus in a three-year holding pattern. Continue reading

Canalside public hearing coming soon; but what about more construction?

Don’t worry, Buffalo. The waterfront you deserve is well on its way and will arrive in 2031. That is if everything goes according to plan.

ECHDC is set to hold a public hearing next Wednesday, December 5 to discuss and detail the revised master plan for Canalside. For those of you who have a vested interest in the development of this fair city and the waterfront, this will be a great event to take in. Unfortunately my work schedule will not allow me to attend.

However, the revised master plan is available for public digestion on the ECHDC website (www.eriecanalharbor.com) and is certainly worth a look. It details nearly everything one could think of regarding the current and future development of the parcels surrounding the Buffalo River. It also details the expected date of completion, 2031. That’s right, in just under 20 years Buffalo should have the waterfront it deserves. Twenty. Years. Continue reading

Canalside and Explore-n-More: Why Buffalo can’t have nice things

Comparing development projects to fables probably isn’t a very good strategy. Typically the first one to the finish line is the project that finds the most success. However, those in charge of planning, approving and building Canalside seem to think slow and steady wins the race.

Canalside: coming, spring 2030! (Date subject to change)

After putting out an RFP for organizations to pitch for museum space to be built on the former Aud site, ECHDC is allowing Explore-n-More to move forward with the initial study for the children’s museum they plan on building at Canalside.

According to Buffalo Rising, Explore-n-More will begin to determine the size, configuration, exhibit space, capital and operational costs of the “Children’s Experience” that will occupy a major section of the Aud Block. This exploratory phase will also determine if Explore-n-More will be capable of raising the necessary funds – to which ECHDC will match on a $1 to $2 basis – to run such a museum. The BRO report also details that a public involvement plan will be implemented as part of the Master Plan process in addition to a Capital Campagin Feasibility Study for another portion of another Master Plan.

All of this nonsense will be compiled as part of a Final Museum Master Plan based on a Feasibility Study and public input which will be completed in May of 2013 before being submitted to the ECHDC and Explore-n-More boards. All of these hoops and hurdles are supposed to lead towards the museum opening on Memorial Day of 2016. 2016!

Whatever happened to lighter, quicker, cheaper? The dumbest tag line in the embarrassingly pathetic history of Canalside is truly taking on its true meaning; dumber, slower, cheaper. So often you hear people rally towards “the waterfront we deserve” only to see the progress crawl along for half a decade. Continue reading