As winter rolls across Lake Erie in downtown Buffalo, New York, the waterfront area of Outer Harbor is getting set up for a new enhancement. New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced construction has begun on a $13 million outdoor entertainment pavilion at the site, renovating a long-abandoned warehouse into seven acres of public property with scenic lake views.
"Projects like Terminal B's transformation are critical to my administration's continuing efforts to invigorate and elevate the unique cultural attractions that make Buffalo so special," Hochul said of the project. "I am incredibly excited for the opportunity the pavilion will provide New Yorkers to appreciate my hometown's beautiful waterfront in a whole new way."
Previously known as Terminal B, the warehouse construction project will add a canopied stage for live performances, a green room, enhanced mechanical elements, a sloped lawn and landscaping elements, as well as site lighting and new security measures. Construction is slated to be fully finished by the Fall of 2023.
"This new, one-of-a kind events center will convert abandoned and contaminated property into performance space and access to revitalized green space," noted Lieutenant Governor Benjamin of the project’s announcement. "This $13 million investment is an important part of the on-going work to ensure that all New Yorkers can enjoy the natural beauty of Buffalo's waterfront."
Funding for the pavilion comes from Empire State Development (ESD) and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC), via relicensing agreements through the New York Power Authority. A subsidiary of Empire State Development, ECHDC both promotes and supports the infrastructure, economy, and public activities associated with Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor, and Outer Harbor.
"Looking at the renderings of the new pavilion, it is easy to picture people gathered on a summer evening to enjoy a concert, festival or special event at Buffalo's beautiful Outer Harbor,” ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia commented of the project. “The start of construction is the first step toward transforming the desolate and dangerous Terminal B site into an attraction all Western New Yorkers can enjoy while visiting the waterfront."
Back in 2013, an estimated four hundred acres of Outer Harbor land was acquired from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) and given to ECHDC, designating Buffalo Harbor State Park the 180th state park in New York state and the first in Buffalo. ECHDC continues to manage Buffalo Harbor State Park to this day.
"We are pleased to see NYPA's relicensing funds being used to repurpose the Terminal B site so that New Yorkers can enjoy the Buffalo Outer Harbor in new and creative ways,” remarked NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel. “This project was developed with community and stakeholder input and NYPA is proud to support projects, like this one, that give our communities opportunities to gather and appreciate our beautiful gateway to the Buffalo-Niagara region today and for years to come."
Construction services for the project will be provided by Turner Construction Company, a national, multidisciplinary construction management firm founded in New York in 1902.
"Turner Construction is thrilled to be part of this transformational project for the Outer Harbor,” Turner Construction Company Vice President Steven Perrigo commented. “It is great to see our waterfront getting reactivated, used and enjoyed."
While performances are a long way off, The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has already claimed that they will perform at the new location, among the many others that are sure to grace the stage along Lake Erie.
"I can't wait to come to this one-of-a-kind entertainment center to hear the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and other great performers, in what will be a beautiful open-air setting,” stated Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “It will be a perfect complement to all the projects that have been successfully developed on the Outer Harbor. I thank Gov. Kathy Hochul, Robert Gioia, and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, and the Empire State Development Corporation, for their unwavering mission to deliver world-class venues and activities on our City's Outer and Inner Harbors. I also thank my colleagues in government who made this project possible."