Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan welcomed the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for construction on Canalside’s South Aud Block. In April Higgins and Ryan stood near the property urging Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) to take the necessary steps to expedite construction of the dining, retail and residential space proposed in the 2013 Canalside Modified General Project Plan.
“A document completed four years ago sketches out a plan for the public amenities envisioned for the former Aud site,” said Congressman Higgins. “This RFP moves us from planning to waterfront progress, one that promises to deliver additional Canalside destinations to visitors and new hope that by next summer construction along this section will be underway.”
Assemblyman Ryan who also urged ECHDC to move forward on the 2013 action plan in a March 2017 letter added, “The mixed-use development envisioned at this site will provide new activity on now vacant parcels to complement the growing Canalside neighborhood. This action provides a way forward, building on the work already accomplished and sustaining the momentum necessary to reach the opportunities our waterfront provides.”
According to the RFP documents: “This RFP permits a variety of proposed land uses, though Proposals are required to include certain mandatory design features such as the reservation of space for ground floor (towpath and street levels) retail, development of public rights‐of‐way, canal lighting, and providing a mixed‐use development plan that further enhances the Canalside area into a vibrant, urban neighborhood. ECHDC is prepared to provide the Developer with $2.0 million for capital construction costs related to the historic rights‐of‐way and canal lighting.”
The Memorial Auditorium was vacated by 1996 and demolished in 2009. Funding for the project is available through the New York Power Authority federal relicensing settlement secured in 2006.