Council Q&A: Forward Thinking – Transit Oriented Development

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is a growing trend in urban redevelopment that integrates some form of mass transit into a project based on its location, design, amenities and market appeal. We asked one of our Development Advisory Council members, Paul Ciminelli, President and CEO of Ciminelli Real Estate, to discuss the growing national trend of TOD and how his company has implemented this into its latest project.

Question: Speak to some of the benefits of TOD projects that you have seen in other cities?

Answer: The benefit of TOD is that it provides the ability to create more density without creating more vehicular traffic. It also gives you the ability to be a good feeder and revenue source for your whole transit system.

Courtesy: The Buffalo News

Question: What do you think of the NFTA’s plan to extend the Metro Rail into Amherst?

Answer: I’m old enough to remember how we talked ourselves into the original metro line, which I think is about 6.4 acres and the thought process was that there would be this big influx of development along the metro line. Well that didn’t happen and one of the reasons why it didn’t was because it was almost a field of dreams approach, ‘build it and they will come.’ Well, they didn’t come because it wasn’t a comprehensive planning process to create Transit Oriented Development. Now, it’s almost like revision is history. We’re talking ourselves into it the same way we did in the late ‘70s with all this robust development that is supposed to happen along the metro line. I don’t know if I would see that happening. I don’t think you’re going to get a lot of development between the Amherst north campus and the Amherst south campus. I think it’s going to be more of a feeder once you get into the city. I don’t, personally, see a lot of development along the new metro line one it extends out from the south campus to wherever the terminus is.

Question: You have a project currently underway on Niagara Street called the Mentholatum. Do you consider that TOD?

Answer: Yes, we do because of the way the new Metro lines will be configured. We went there for a couple of reasons. We saw the lower west side begin to emerge as a neighborhood and when we bought the Mentholatum building we bookended the Elmwood Village and Niagara Street, which is emerging. Then you incorporate that the city is committed to what cities should do and is spending money on infrastructure and making it more user friendly.  And then you have the NFTA backing that up with a nice robust public transportation system.

The Partnership’s Development Advisory Council brings together leading development and real estate professionals throughout Western New York who aim to support policy, collaboration and educational opportunities around sustainable development of the Buffalo Niagara region.

For more information please contact Daniel Leonard, Senior Director of Economic Development at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

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