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Canalside: What's the plan for the North Aud block?

As a followup to our 2 On Your Side Original report in May, we checked in with Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation about what's happening with the huge empty lot at Canalside and if there's any word about the developer interested in the property next to the children's museum.
Vacant lot on North Aud block at Canalside

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Crews were busy at the North Aud block at Canalside, Monday, cleaning up and spraying grass seed at the empty lot.

2 On Your Side asked Tom Dee, President of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, about it at the director's meeting Monday morning, "We had hoped at this point in time that we'd have more actual development there, but right now we want to clean it up so that the public doesn't consider it to be an eye sore."

In terms of development projects, Dee tells 2 On Your Side the RFP for the North Aud block could go out in about three to six months.

Congressman Brian Higgins spoke with us about the property in May, "We're very focused on the North Aud block, to make that a commercial mixed-use development with residential housing, a city square, exclusive for pedestrians."

More: Celebrating 10 years of Canalside

Dee believes development of the North Aud block is dependent on the success of getting a developer to begin work on the remaining section of the South Aud block; the parcel of land adjacent to the Explore and More Children's Museum.

Dee says they have a developer in mind, but won't disclose the name, "That's an ongoing negotiation that I can't talk much about, other than to say that it's negotiation that's happening, it's one that we encourage and that we're excited about."

When we asked why, ECHDC explained:

"We don't disclose info regarding imminent contract awards. FOIL permits the withholding of documents if the release would impair present or imminent contract awards."

Tom Dee says the hope is to go public with the name of the developer in about a month. But it won't be Dee making that announcement.

He will be retiring June 29th after 9 years with ECHDC.