Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

BUDC Picks RiverBend Development Team

Business First of Buffalo [ View Original Article ]

After reviewing more than 25 proposals, the Buffalo Urban Development Corp. has selected a consultant team to develop and market the 260-acre Riverbend property that cuts through South Buffalo.

The BUDC directors unanimously approved hiring the Sasaki Associates-led team for the project along the Buffalo River. Sasaki is expected to take less than one year to develop the plan and will be paid $758,790 — about $92,000 less than had been budgeted.

Sasaki Associates, based in Watertown, Mass., has a deep resume of overseeing plans for transforming old industrial properties into new investment opportunities. Its team includes four companies: Clough Harbour Associates, Foit-Albert Associates, Watts Architects & Engineers and Phillips Lytle.

Other members of the team include HR&A, a New York City-based real estate and economic analysis firm; Biohabitats from Cleveland who specializes in river remediation projects and Ravi Engineering from Rochester to handle the geotechnical engineering aspects of the project.

Riverbend, which once housed Republic Steel and Donner Hanna Coke operations, runs from the Buffalo River to Tifft Street and over to Germania and Abby Streets. The land has been vacant for decades but presents a key economic opportunity for the city.

“Sasaki comes with some outstanding credentials,” said David Stebbins, BUDC vice president. “They are bringing with them a pretty impressive team.”

Sasaki was also the lowest bidder and the one that offered the shortest time frame to complete the development overview.

“They’ve already challenged us to think on a broader scale,” said Christina Orsi, a BUDC director and Empire State Development Corp.'s regional director. “They are already beginning to open our minds about what we could put out there.”

In other BUDC business:

• The directors awarded a $2.070,886 contract to Accadia Site Contracting Inc. of Depew to build a 2,000-linear-foot extension of Ship Canal Parkway that cuts through the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park. The road extension will run from Fuhrmann Boulevard to the Union Ship Canal.

Accadia was the lowest of the four bids received.

• Announced that the agency will seek $12 million in the next round of federal Tiger II grants for a road that will connect Tifft Street with South Park Avenue that will service both the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park and the Riverbend property.

A second phase of the road is also slated to connect South Park Avenue with the I-190 and will be the subject of a future request for federal dollars.

Combined the two phases of roadway would build out what was once proposed as the Southtowns Connector.

“It is a very important cog for the future development of this area,” said Peter Cammarata, BUDC president.