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Final redesign of former Rainbow Centre Mall begins

Urban Land Institute

Redevelopment of the former Rainbow Centre Mall in downtown Niagara Falls took another step forward Monday.

USA Niagara Development said it approved a nearly $4 million contract extension with Marvel Architects to begin final design plans for re-purposing up to 200,000 square feet of mall space into "high-density, mixed-use development." Marvel completed conceptual design and scoping last summer. A construction manager will be hired next.

Officials said the project will eventually restore pedestrian access through the center of the building and add walkable services," such as retail, restaurant and tourist amenities, on the ground level." USAN Chairwoman Francine Delmonte said re-imagining this long-dormant property will support the revitalization of the Cataract City's tourism industry and create commercial opportunities that entice residents and visitors downtown.

The mall has been closed since 2000. The reuse project has been underway since December 2019, guided by the Urban Land Institute. One third of the mall has already been redeveloped for the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, home to Niagara County Community College’s Hospitality and Tourism programs since September 2012

USAN also approved the transfer of its property at 466 Third Street to Cataract Development Corporation as part of a full rehabilitation of the building into a mixed-use development with five apartment units and two commercial storefronts. Officials said the project will add value to the Third Street Business District, create new jobs and provide new residential opportunities.