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More plans on the way for the Outer Harbor

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Another step in the transformation of the Outer Harbor takes place today. Development companies will be receiving requests for proposals, gauging their interest in planning the use for 150 acres of waterfront property.

Empire State Development Corporation has pre-qualified 36 consulting firms who will be offered the chance to develop a plan. The development corporation's Outer Harbor Advisory Committee voted Monday to send out the RFPs. The committee hopes to have a choice by May 12.

Chairman Robert Gioia says there are some guiding principles on what's being sought.
"Access.Variability.Financial payback and process," Gioia said.

"The governor said very clearly I want a robust public process and I want the best experts that you can find to help you with that process. Because this is a chance of a lifetime for this community and it's something we have all been waiting for for decades."

Even though the plan won't be ready until fall, Gioia says some construction will take place this year to make the site more accessible to the public.

The land is between the Times Beach Nature Preserve and the old Port Terminal. The NFTA is slated to transfer ownership to the development corporation within weeks.

Buffalo's executive director of the Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning Brendan Mehaffy is cautioning against building new office space on the Waterfront, fearing that it will conflict with Downtown.

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.