Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced the design for a new, $46 million state-of-the-art visitor center in Niagara Falls State Park.
The new facility will be a gateway to adventure along the Niagara River Corridor. It would provide expanded space for peak-time visiting and include areas for ticketing, interpretation, dining and retail operations. The building will replace a 35-year-old structure that is no longer capable of hosting the 9 million visitors a year the park receives.
The building is being designed by GWWO. Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2021 and wrap up in time for the 2023 tourism season.
The new 28,000-sq.-ft. visitor center will include new ticketing and information desks, interpretive museum space including an immersive experience and exhibits highlighting a diversity of topics including natural, industrial and Indigenous American history; new concession spaces; restrooms and associated support spaces. The glass, steel and concrete facility has been designed to complement nature and include a rooftop solar array, green roof elements and a separate restroom building. Enhanced site amenities include new accessible paths; plantings; outdoor exhibits, and interpretive and wayfinding elements. The existing 7,000-sq.-ft. regional administration building immediately adjacent to the facility will be adapted to include a multi-purpose community room, regional archives and offices for Niagara regional interpretive staff.
State Parks will issue a request for proposals from potential partners for a 10 plus year agreement beginning in 2022 to operate food, beverage, retail and recreational concessions throughout Niagara Falls State Park, including space in the new visitor center. The new agreement would offer 7,300-sq.-ft. of “white box” space to be built out by the next operator for concessions and support areas.