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Plans unveiled for Canalside's North Aud Block

Chris Caya/WBFO News
The North Aud Block has been vacant since the old War Memorial Auditorium was demolished in 2009

The Cuomo Administration is ramping up its effort to fill in the eyesore next to the ice rinks at Canalside known as the North Aud Block.

A new concept plan for the site was unveiled Monday. The new plan for the block includes five new buildings with a mix of residential, commercial, retail and new parking.

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation President Steven Ranalli said work on the site, which is bounded by Main Street, Pearl Street, I-190 and the area's historically aligned canals, will have to conform to Canalside's design guidelines.

Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News
ECHDC President Steven Ranalli

"That basically says that we're going to use historic materials in a contemporary way. You've seen with the buildings to date at Canalside, it's been a nice mix. We see a lot of brick and wood and stone. But still, we're seeing some contemporary designs mixed into that," Ranalli said at a news briefing Monday. 

Ranalli said there is enough room on the nearly two-acre site for about a 500,000 square feet of development. The goal, he said, is to create a neighborhood at Canalside with plenty of pedestrian access.
"We've got Lloyd Street and we have Commercial Street. These are historic streets that have gone through this block in the past. And so while they won't have vehicular traffic on them, we'll continue those through to connect Main Street and the downtown business district right through this site and down to the waterfront edge," Ranalli said.  

“Today’s announcement represents the next phase in moving Canalside forward as a place that draws people into an exciting community gathering destination that includes restaurants, shopping, public events & activities, residential living, and waterfront viewing," said Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo), in a statement.

The final public hearing on the proposed plan will be held at the ECHDC, 95 Perry Street, on January 22 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Ranalli said a request for proposals will be issued by year's end.   


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