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Contracts awarded for development at former Aud site

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation

Another piece of Canalside is going to final design, after a vote Monday by the board of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation. Canalside is a number of projects, mostly on the side of Main Street once overshadowed by the old Memorial Auditorium. The old Aud now a giant hole in the ground awaiting the resumption of construction in the spring.

The latest piece is on what's called the South Aud Block, a one-acre piece of land bounded by Main Street, two new canals and Marine Drive.

The plan approved Monday with contracts awarded calls for construction of four buildings, including a home for Explore & More Children's Museum and new and rebuilt roads.

Development Corporation President Thomas Dee says the process takes a while.

"We're going to have this design starting now, February of 2014. It's probably a 9-12 month design, followed by probably a 12-month construction. So that should take us to about the fourth quarter of 2016," Dee says.  

Credit eriecanalharbor.com
An artist rendering of the site

Dee says the actual construction should cost around $30 million. He says these buildings are important because the restaurant in one of them, along with other projects, will start bringing in revenue.

He says the goal is for Canalside is to pay for itself so it can be there well into the future.

Across Main Street, HarborCenter is rushing construction for its twin ice rinks, hotel and restaurant and giant parking ramp across from First Niagara Center. Officials hope to open the rinks, the ramp and the restaurant and hotel a year from now.

Also Monday, Global Spectrum, the company that is managing Canalside's entertainment programming, announced it is opening the submission process for special events. Submission forms can be found at www.canalsidebuffalo.com/submit.

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.