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$30M cleanup of former Buffalo Color site nearing completion

Mike Desmond

Drivers on the Niagara Section of the Thruway has been watching for months, as construction workers swarm over a building with giant round-top windows near where the road crosses over a mass of railroad tracks. Another of Buffalo's old and contaminated industrial sites is nearing complete re-use, with tens of millions of dollars spent.Even as Medaille College had a ribbon-cutting to formally open the first part of its new sports complex on the old Buffalo Color site, work continued closer to Lee Street on a major conversion of the old powerhouse for the one-time source of much of the blue in blue jeans.

Jon Williams is CEO of Ontario Specialty Contracting, parent of South Buffalo Development, which has been renovating the property. Williams sais the powerhouse is the big project now.

"The next phase for Medaille is the expansion of the field facilities,  so about another eight acres of turf fields, support facilities, bleachers, lights, pretty much what you see here," said Williams, "and then across Lee Street, we're about 30% complete on the old boiler house, which we're hoping is done by early March of 2020 and OSC's offices are going to move from Ganson Street into that facility."

Williams said the boiler house will be about 46,000 square feet of useable space when complete.

"OSC is going to take about 12 of that. The rest is going to be an entertainment complex, mixed-use apartments and some other undefined space," he said.

Williams said the redevelopment of the property is about a $30 million project. That is on top of $25 million for cleaning up the heavily contaminated site, mostly paid by Honeywell, the corporate successor to prior owners of the old plant site.

"Honeywell was the partner on that and they had a historical obligation and they stood up for it," Williams said.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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