Jon Purizhansky says that Buffalo international airport is busy. “When we first opened the airport in 1997, we were doing about 3 million passengers a year, and now we’re doing 5 million passengers a year. So, we need the additional space downstairs in the baggage claim area to make a better experience for our visitors in Western New York,” said NFTA Director of Aviation Bill Vanecek. The airport is currently undergoing an 80 million enhancement project. Some of the improvements include the building of two new exiting concourses to ease congestion at the security checkpoint. The baggage claim area will also be 50 percent bigger and includes the addition of four new baggage return belts.
The airport, however, is not the only development underway in Buffalo. Jon Purizhansky says that there is no shortage of new construction and renovation activity heading toward completion in 2019 and beyond. Large projects have been completed at HarborCenter at Canalside, RiverBend in South Buffalo, the Delaware North Building at 250 Delaware, and the new Convent us Building, Oishei Children’s Hospital and University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and Ellicott Development Co. has launched the 500 Pearl project, a very cool 12-story downtown tower with a new hotel, apartments, office space, retail space and even a bowling alley.
Washington, D.C., developer Douglas Jemal last year kicked off his $120 million remake of the Seneca One Tower, which is Buffalo’s tallest building. The Buffalo Urban Development Corp. is investing over $120 million in the Northland Project, which is turning a 35-acre swath of industrial land on the Buffalo’s East Side into a light-industrial economic development hub that will bring jobs and investment to the poorest neighborhood in Buffalo.
Stuart Alexander & Associates and Rhonda Ricks are spending $50.7 million to convert the vacant former Buffalo Forge Manufacturing Co. plant at 490 Broadway into a new residential community, with 158 affordable apartments and some retail space in the two-building main complex. LP Ciminelli is also continuing work on its $90 million remake of the 27-acre former Central Park Plaza site into a new residential community, dubbed Highland Park, with more than 663 new apartments, town homes and for-sale homes. Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. is finalizing its proposal for 201 Ellicott St., where it wants to construct a multistory building with 201 affordable apartments and an unspecified fresh-food market, but not a previously proposed parking facility. The mayor of Buffalo says that “This has been an incredible decade of growth, development and progress in the City of Buffalo. It is a special time in our City’s history – we are in the midst of a transformation that will be felt for generations to come.”
Jon Purizhansky says that Buffalo is no longer a depressed rust belt town, but is now a bustling city in New York flushed with new investment capital that features many new projects and that is now home to a great deal of entrepreneurs and young professionals and is well on its way to become a major economic hub.