Historically, Buffalo’s Erie Canal Harbor was one of the world’s most profitable business centers. For much of the nineteenth century there was an overflow of people and goods from all over the globe. The emergence of trains and automobiles in the early twentieth century depleted the demand for the Erie Canal Harbor to serve as the central source of commerce. The site was eventually covered to make way for streets.
In 2005 the Erie Canal Harbor was reclaimed for restoration as it holds significant historical value. Beginning in 2008 various projects have been completed at the site and many more are underway. Canalside is at the heart of Buffalo’s waterfront revitalization. There are daily events at Canalside ranging from Tuesday Night Flicks, a free outdoor film series, to Zumba classes presented by BlueCross BlueShield.
The redevelopment of Buffalo’s Inner Harbor has provided the opportunity for local businesses to get involved and give back to the community in a way that way previously unavailable. Canalside has become a major attraction in Buffalo, thousands of people flock to the harbor daily despite the construction still to come.
The $53 million Erie Canal Harbor & Naval Museum was completed in 2008. Some of the projects on track for completion this year include a $5.7 million East Canal Park and $172 million HARBORCENTER, both projects will function as tourist attractions. A $30 million mixed use building is scheduled to be completed this year along with $17.5 million in renovations to HSBC’s Atrium. Several projects have been proposed including Cooperage Lofts, a residential building approximated to cost $6.6 million, and the Explore & More Children’s Museum scheduled for completion in 2016 with an estimated cost of $8 million.
The progress being made at Buffalo’s Erie Canal harbor combined with the positive response from the community is a sign that Buffalo is on the rise. There are plans to house entertainment, retail, commercial, and residential properties at Canalside. This $229 million project along with other development projects throughout the city have contributed largely to the recent expansion in Buffalo’s economy.
By: Nuri Ricks, Intern, Largo Real Estate Advisors, Inc.