ULI group releases report, strategy for Central Terminal

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A group of planners and architectural experts are releasing their report about what should happen next at the Central Terminal. The group spent the week in the city surveying the site and now they’re sharing their findings. The Urban Land Institute report includes goals and plans for where to start with rebuilding not only the Central Terminal but also the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood where it is situated.

“Investment simply in the Central Terminal won’t give us the investment we need,” said Jennifer Ball, with the ULI. “It’s important to concurrently invigorate Broadway-Fillmore community.”

And that’s why the ULI s proposing a strategy where one of the first steps includes creating a development plan for the East Side. ULI also suggests having a master plan for the building which includes breaking down the minimum cost of repairing and stabilizing each part of the former train station.

“We need to capitalize on memories and use this to make a thriving complex,” said Betsy del Monte, an architect with the Urban Land Institute.

The very first thing the ULI thinks needs to happen so there’s success – the current owners, the CTRC — which is made up of all volunteers — needs to establish itself as a corporation with an executive director and paid staff members. ULI says their list of near term suggestions, like that, are items which can start happening as soon as next week.

The group of planning and architectural experts is suggesting in the next one to five years, the concourse reopens to the public with a restaurant and year round venue as well as beautifying the green space, creating a park. Looking longer term, 6 to 20 years, their suggestions include enhancing Fillmore Avenue and reusing vacant lots around the area.

“The opportunity – which we think is huge – is to create connectivity and vibrancy that comes from that connectivity, into community and vice versa,” said Michael Stern with the ULI.

As the floor opened to the public, many expressed concerns about how those living on the East Side will benefit now and overtimeand not be priced out from the historic neighborhood.

“The lack of development and investment has hurt people,” said Malaika Abernathy, a planner. 

While the group couldn’t put a price tag on the total cost, they are estimating it’ll take millions of dollars – from both the public and private sectors, to make the building safe, accessible, and into something like the Queen City has never seen before

“We’re not talking about restoration; we are talking about rebirth,” said Stern.


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