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NFTA's deadline for land sale proposals

WBFO News file photo

Monday  marks the deadline set by Western New York Congressman Brian Higgins for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to sell land along Buffalo's Outer Harbor to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation. Congressman Higgins wants the Authority to sell the waterfront land for $2.00.  Higgins appeared at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport late Monday morning before heading to Washington.  Higgins told reporters it's time for the Authority to focus on public transportation and airport management -- not waterfront redevelopment.

"Today is D-day," said Higgins.  "Today is the deadline for submissions for proposals to develop 400 acres of the Outer Harbor.  It is very, very important that this land goes to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, which has a singular focus on waterfront development and has resources to develop it"

The NFTA is willing to sell the property, but has stated that a $2.00 transfer deal would be illegal.  

The Authority does admit the waterfront land needs over $30-million in work.

"The NFTA has not done the work, according to their own report. They estimate that over 30 million dollars in improvements are needed out there, so they shouldn't be paid anything for this land," said Congress Higgins.

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) and the City of Buffalo Monday submitted a joint proposal in response to the request for proposals issued by the NFTA for its 384 acres of waterfront land holdings on Buffalo’s outer harbor.  The joint proposal was filed by the 4 p.m. December 17, 2012 deadline. 

In a news release issued by the ECHDC, the two entities propose that ECHDC acquire title to the property offered in the RFP and that the City and ECHDC will enter into a memorandum of agreement regarding specific responsibilities for the operation, maintenance and future development of the property.   

“The City and ECHDC share an interest in revitalizing the City of Buffalo waterfront,” said Mayor Byron Brown and ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia in a joint statement.  “We believe that an appropriate mix of land uses throughout the property will ensure public access while providing business growth opportunity that create jobs and a return on investment—both financially and quality of life—to the taxpayers of the City and State of New York.  We look forward to discussing this joint proposal with the NFTA and working toward the transfer of the property to ECHDC.”

The ECHDC said selection of a  purchaser will be made by the NFTA’s Board of Commissioners.  That selection is expected by February 2013.

The ECHDC said details of the joint proposal will not be made public until the NFTA has reviewed the proposal.