Building on Assets Creates a Better Buffalo

Low interest rates and incentives from the state are helping Buffalo, NY to leverage its waterfront and extraordinary architecture to create a vibrant downtown, with historic preservation and adaptive reuse projects at center stage.
August 22, 2013, 11am PDT | Alek Miller
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Through adaptive reuse of several notable properties, such as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, a project by H.H. Richardson and Frederick Law Olmsted, the city is capitalizing on its important historic assets, reports Jenna McKnight.

“Our plan is to address the impediments that have held back growth: To turn older buildings into adaptive reuse projects, to focus on creating funding sources to stabilize distressed neighborhoods, to have a more vibrant waterfront,” explained Brendan Mehaffy, executive director of the city’s Office of Strategic Planning. “We’d definitely like to see a population increase,” he added, “but we are focused on making a Buffalo that Buffalonians can really enjoy.”

"A key initiative is reinvigorating the waterfront. 'Buffalo has always been criticized, and rightfully so, for not taking advantage of its waterfront,' said architect Paul McDonnell, president of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo. That’s starting to change. During a recent open-air bus tour showcasing the city’s architecture, McDonnell pointed to HarborCenter, a $172 million entertainment complex under construction on a 1.7-acre block adjacent to the First Niagara Center, home to the NHL’s Sabres. Designed by Populous and financed by team owner Terry Pegula, the structure will feature two hockey rinks, a hotel, and space for restaurants, retail, and parking. Full completion is slated for 2015."

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Published on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 in The Architect's Newspaper
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