RFP issued to redevelop Terminal A on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor

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New York Construction Report staff writer

A request for proposals has been issued for the purchase and redevelopment of Terminal A on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, a 550,000-sq. ft. building that has been vacant for years. This RFP is an opportunity to purchase and transform the main terminal and three adjacent buildings into a unique waterfront destination, located at 901 Fuhrmann Boulevard.

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation project potentially includes residential, restaurants, office space, cultural attractions and parking.

Proposals are due by 8 p.m. March 30, 2023. The full RFP is available here.

“Terminal A is a massive vacant structure that has tremendous potential to become a destination that builds on the success of other Outer Harbor improvements,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “Now is the time for Buffalo to take advantage of this unique and historic architectural asset, much like what has occurred with large terminals in other waterfront cities. We look forward to seeing the creative proposals submitted for transforming the property into a destination that will attract visitors to the water’s edge while also providing a unique place to live and thrive.”

Terminal A is a steel-framed, brick veneered structure that was constructed in 1930-1931.  The building is comprised of a high-bay storage area along the south side, first and second floor storage space, and an office area on the east end of the building.  The building was designed by architect Albert Kahn for the Ford Motor Company and was designated a local landmark in 2019. Also included in the sale:

  • Administration Building: 6,700-sq. ft. steel framed, brick veneered structure that consists of a garage and storage area and office spaces.
  • Fire Pump House: 370-sq. ft. structure.
  • Blue Building: 4,300-sq. ft. metal framed garage.

The lakefront property includes 1,720 ft. of vertical seawall and approximately 4.2 acres of deep-water slip along the southern edge.

“The redevelopment of Terminal A will take the Outer Harbor to the next level as an urban waterfront location,” said Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chairman Robert Gioia said. “By taking advantage of this unique architectural gem we will generate more visitors, attract first time residents, and increased activity – all while ensuring the Outer Harbor as a year-round destination.”

In 2021, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) adopted a $150 million General Project Plan (GPP) for nearly 200-acres of the Outer Harbor.  The Phase 1 improvements, located north of the development site, are already underway at a cost of $43 million.

ECHDC will maintain ownership of adjacent parcels north of 901 Fuhrmann Blvd., including the Terminal B complex that will be partitioned from the 901 Fuhrmann parcel.  Currently, the Terminal B complex is being converted into a public event facility that will host charity walks/events, concerts, and cultural festivals.  The complex will consist of an open-air stage with a sloped lawn toward the stage that can accommodate up to 8,000 visitors.

“The transformation of Terminal A will add to the progress we’ve made over the years developing the Outer Harbor and the Canalside areas,” said City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown. “The Outer Harbor has become a destination, not just for area residents, but for those who visit our wonderful city. I’d like to thank Governor Kathy Hochul for her continued commitment to our city.”

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