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6 Groups in Running for S. Buffalo Project

Six design teams, all with impressive resumes, have made the short list to help the Buffalo Urban Development Corp. craft a development plan for the Riverbend Commerce Park.

Riverbend is viewed as one of Buffalo’s key future economic development strongholds.

The 260-acre Riverbend property in South Buffalo has been home to a number of heavy industrial uses, including operations by Republic Steel and Donner Hanna Coke. The Village Farms Hydroponics also used a portion of the land to grow tomatoes. The land borders the Buffalo River, but also such thoroughfares as Tifft Street and neighbors the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park.

The site development process is considered a crucial step in turning the land into a shovel-ready location, mirroring what BUDC did when it converted the former Union Ship Canal property into the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park.

The site development will cover both construction and environmental issues.

When BUDC issued a request for qualification process earlier this spring, 25 firms responded including a mix of international, national and local companies.

“We were pleasantly surprised by that response,” said David Stebbins, BUDC vice president.

From that list the six short-listed teams were selected.

The teams are:

Design Collective from Baltimore, whose local partners include Foit-Albert Associates and Watts Architecture & Engineering.

• Parson Brinkeroff’s Buffalo office. Among its partners include J.R. Militello Realty, DiDonato Associates and Charles Gordon Architecture.

• Sasaki, a Watertown, Mass. firm, whose local partners include the Phillips Lytle law firm, Foit-Albert Associates, Watts Architecture & Engineering and Clough Harbour Associates.

• Strada/Pittsburgh Collective, whose primary local partner is Watts Architecture & Engineering.

• Amherst’s Wendel Duchscherer that has put together a team that includes such firms as CB Richard Ellis, Ecology & Environment Inc. and Urban Strategies Inc.

• Denver’s Wenk, whose local partners include TVGA Consultants and the Harris Beach law firm.

Stebbins said the firms have until July 1 to formally submit an RFP to the city development agency. The RFPs will be reviewed during July and Stebbins expects to make a formal recommendation to the BUDC board by its Aug. 3 meeting.

Preliminary work on the Riverbend property could begin later this year.