Officials optimistic over future of DL&W Terminal redevelopment

Development plan expanding uses along Canalside & Cobblestone district

Mike Baggerman
December 20, 2018 - 3:00 am

DL&W Terminal. 2018 (WBEN Photo/Tim Wenger)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The redevelopment of Buffalo's DL&W terminal is similar to what you're hearing with a lot of developments at or near Canalside: mixed-use.

The terminal, which was built in 1917, was used as a passenger and goods transfer point with water taxis, passenger ships, trolleys, and more. In 1979, part of it was demolished while the remaining train shed was repurposed to store and maintain the metro rail and its equipment. Its second floor is approximately 130,000 square feet with unifished indoor space and outdoor deck space that overlooks the Buffalo River. 

NFTA officials began designing the DL&W metro rail station on the ground level after a study in April 2016. Part of the design included a 300-foot boarding platform between the tracks on the Buffalo River side of the building and new access point to the second floor of the terminal, which could then be used as an area that branches to the station platform, another entrance to the terminal on South Park Avenue, and a direct connection to KeyBank Center via pedestrian walkway. 

"It's meant to be a catalyst in that area, building upon the foot traffic and the energy that the HarborCenter is already getting," Megan Tafelski, Marketing Director at McGuire Development Company, told WBEN. "They're looking to include some retail space as well as some restaurant space and even some office space. The plan is to keep the bottom portion as an actual station." 

NFTA Public Affairs Director Helen Tederous said that they're hopeful that the redeveloped DL&W Terminal will re-energize the property and add the further economic development. 

There is a planned portion of residential at the DL&W Terminal, though Tafelski said that she doesn't expect it to be the main focus. Any Sabres that exits the arena can tell you that foot traffic by the arena after any game is heavy. 

"It's no secret there is a tax break by including the residential aspect of it," Tafelski said. "Beyond that point, if you look at 79 Perry where the new Labatt Draft House is, they have four luxury apartments at that development...That was a really successful model for them. That's a truly mixed-use building."

Political figures whose districts feature the DL&W shared their excitement over the planned redevelopment of it.

"(I'd like to see) the full redevelopment potential of the second floor," Congressman Brian Higgins said. "It's the missing link between Canalside and the Buffalo River corridor. Our efforts to redevelop Buffalo's waterfront will not be complete until it's complete. We have a long way to go."

Higgins said it's important to maximize the use of the land that exists there and that the public transportation component will be important for the area to complement the traffic flow at Canalside. 

New York State Senator Chris Jacobs said the redevelopment will help bridge as part of the revitalization of the building. 

"I've talked with the NFTA and I want to do everything I can to help," Jacobs said. "I hope they can make it happen with walkways connecting to the hockey arena so we can continue to build the connectivity that we're trying to get with all the varied options that are starting to happen along the waterfront."

Proposal requests for the site are due February 19 at 11 a.m. 

Officials are hopeful to receive final designs in 2019 and construction of a final project to be complete by 2021. 

IN DEPTH

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