The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) Board of Directors met today and designated a developer to undertake the South Aud Block redevelopment in Buffalo. Sinatra & Company Real Estate LLC will invest $21 million to build Heritage Point, two mixed-use buildings consisting of ground-floor retail and restaurants with Class “A” office space and residential units on the upper floors. The Prime Slip and sections of the historic Canal Street and Lloyd Street will also be completed by the developer. The South Aud Block redevelopment will open by May 2020.
“Sinatra & Company’s planned buildings will further activate the site and diversify the neighborhood offerings, attractions and opportunities at Canalside, while retaining historic touches,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “Heritage Point will serve as a catalyst for additional investment in Canalside and fuel further economic growth in the City of Buffalo.”
With more than 71,000 gross square feet of space, the mixed-use buildings include up to five floors with an active ground-floor plan that includes several restaurants. The remaining floors include a total of 41 mixed-income residential units. The Prime Slip will be evoked through a pedestrian pathway over its former alignment, where it historically linked the Erie Canal with Lake Erie. The pathway will allow visitors to explore the area while simultaneously educating the public on the significance of the Prime Slip. The developer will also activate the towpath, sidewalks and Prime Slip with outdoor seating. The primarily vacant parcels are part of a former superblock that once contained War Memorial Auditorium, a sports and events arena that was demolished by ECHDC in 2009.
Sinatra & Company Real Estate will receive $2 million from ECHDC for capital construction costs related to the Prime Slip and sections of Lloyd Street and Canal Street rights-of-way and canal lighting. Sinatra will also receive a $2 million loan from the Better Buffalo Fund (BBF). A key initiative of Governor Cuomo’s revitalization efforts in Western New York, the Better Buffalo Fund aims to create vibrant, mixed-use, high-density neighborhoods, while improving access to the major employment hubs by creating stronger transit and transportation linkages between neighborhoods, employment centers, job training and services.