Council Boat Tour: Buffalo’s Waterfront in Transition

On a perfect summer afternoon 200 Buffalo Niagara Partnership members hopped on board the Grand Lady and toured along Buffalo’s transforming waterfront. The Buffalo River offers a picturesque look back at what once was a busy shipping port and manufacturing hub along the Great Lakes.  While the waterfront is changing by adding more pedestrian access and recreational space, industry still has a place along the banks.

The Buffalo Urban Development Corporation is taking old brownfield land and repurposing it for future development.

“We try to be that initial change agent,” said Dave Stebbins, AICP Vice President Buffalo Urban Development Corporation. “When nobody wanted to do anything on the waterfront, when they thought the property was too environmentally challenged, when the real estate market was a little softer, we acquired strategic brownfield properties with the idea that we would reposition them for private investment.”

Two examples of this effort can be seen in Buffalo’s Lakeside Commerce Park and the newly constructed Riverbend site, which will be home to Tesla’s solar manufacturing plant. While there is

plenty of undeveloped land for future industrial and commercial uses, Stebbins says the transformation of the waterfront will continue to evolve.

“The continued transition of the waterfront from a commercial/industrial waterfront to one more focused on recreational uses and residential uses especially on the lower reaches of the Buffalo River and the Outer Harbor as well.”

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About Mike Spong

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