RIVERKEEPER shares the broader community’s vision for a revitalized waterfront that fosters economic growth while celebrating the region’s cultural history and natural beauty. Regardless of the redevelopment scenario, the Erie Freight House site poses significant challenges to both the current developer and the preservation community. However, as RIVERKEEPER has learned through its collaborative efforts on the river clean-up, we believe that if the various parties work together a project could be achieved that will result in a revitalized section of the riverfront.
The Erie Freight House is the last historical connection and remnant of its kind related to the Buffalo River’s role in the development of our Great Lakes city and region. RIVERKEEPER is supportive of the preservation community’s efforts to purchase and restore this unique riverfront property for a modern use. If additional resources and partners can be identified in the short term to preserve and protect the site from further decay, we encourage the current owner to negotiate reasonable terms upon which to transfer ownership. We would hope that the City would also work to encourage the developer to transfer ownership to an entity that can safely secure the property rather than grant a demolition permit. However, in the event that none of the aforementioned opportunities are able to be implemented, it is expected that the Office of Permits and Inspections Services would inform the developer of the Coastal Overlay Zone ordinance. RIVERKEEPER will work to ensure that any future redevelopment of this site follows this zoning ordinance, which requires that:
- The public’s interests in the waterfront is protected by requiring public access to and along the river by means of a 25-100 foot new development setback; and
- The project includes shoreline restoration or ecological enhancement wherever possible.
Please read our letter to Mr. James Comerford, Commissioner, City of Buffalo Office of Permits and Inspections Services, about the proposed demolition of the Erie Freight House on Ohio Street :Letter to Mr. James Comerford.