BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Urban Land Institute released the findings of its week-long study of the historic Central Terminal at a meeting on Friday.
"Right now, we don't see a great market value for the terminal. we need to create value in order to build a market for the future" said Michael Stern, Chairman of the Urban Land Institute, as he kicked off the presentation.
The group suggests one way to increase the building's market value is to unite it with the surrounding Broadway/Fillmore neighborhood.
They say tearing down the edge of the complex, and creating recreational areas inside its property, can give residents a chance to really connect with the old structure.
"We talked to many people who said I've known about this complex for years, but I've never been in it. So by opening it up to the community, we can foster that support," said Betsy Delmont, a presenter and member of the ULI's group.
Delmont says hosting year-long events at the terminal can help with creating new jobs and revenue.
Access to the area would also need to be created or updated.
That includes widening roads to deal with the influx of visitors attending those events.
One of the first steps to make all that happen is to convert the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation from a volunteer based group, to a formal organization with an executive director.
That organization would focus on operating the terminal, redevelopment, and programing the year long events.
A new master plan would also need to be designed, based on what is available at the Central Terminal in its present form and calculations would be needed to find out the minimum cost for keeping those services open year round.
The group goes on to say the Broadway/Fillmore neighborhood must improve alongside the terminal for any of this to work.
"This neighborhood, is a neighborhood in need," says Jennifer Ball, another member of the group.
A suggestion the group had was making a Broadway/Fillmore plan that goes hand in hand with the terminal's master plan.
Its focus would be to improve conditions and create neighborhood support for the revitalization efforts.
Ball say the "declining population, lower median income, higher poverty rates and poor housing conditions" can affect the Central Terminal's chances of making a resurgence.
But even with those negative features, there is a lot to like about the surrounding area.
"There is a tremendous asset in the community of historic and cultural resources. The Broadway Market, the churches, the Adam Mickiewicz library," says Ball. "The location is also ideal to the other investments that are happening among the region."
And if all those outside programs and already-established locations are used in the redevelopment of the Central Terminal, Delmont says the building's future is a bright one.
"By using these existing partnerships, we can expand and the terminal can become the vibrancy of what's coming, instead of what it's been in the past, which is one of despair," Delmont said.
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