Planning Department

PlanningThe Buffalo Place Planning Department works on a wide range of projects and initiatives designed to enhance the function, use and understanding of Downtown Buffalo. Planning projects are both short and long term, some involving extensive collaboration with other agencies working toward long-range goals. The Planning Department collects and maintains data to help make informed decisions about Downtown Buffalo.

View a .PDF Version of the 2015 Buffalo Place Inc. Pedestrian Study Here.


2015 400 & 500 Blocks New York Main Street Program

Buffalo Place Inc was awarded a $300,000 New York Main Street (NYMS) Program grant from the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal and the New York State Housing Trust Fund in December 2015.  The project area includes properties between Huron Street and Lafayette Square/Court Street, along the west side of Washington Street, the east side of Pearl Street and both sides of Main Street.  Properties in the grant area will be able to apply to Buffalo Place for matching funds to reimburse their building renovation expenses.  Priorities for funding include:

1. Project Feasibility – Projects that will be able to progress and meet schedule

2. Project Visibility – Projects that will improve the appearance of the area and important buildings

3. Project Impact – Projects that will facilitate interior uses that improve district vitality and character

4. Projects that will renovate vacant buildings, support building occupancy and active storefronts

5. Projects that will develop new and renovate existing residential units

6. Repairs/code compliance to safeguard historic structures, ADA accessibility & energy efficiency

7. Projects that provided letters of commitment or support during State application process

Projects informally mentioned by property representatives range from new signage to full renovation of vacant structures.

Buffalo Place will also be able to invest $15,000 in Streetscape elements in the area, working with property representatives and the City of Buffalo to select appropriate improvements.

An advisory committee of design, construction and financing experts will assist Buffalo Place in selecting the projects to be funded.  Projects are to be completed before November 2017.

Materials for Property Contacts: The following materials are posted for use by Theatre District Property representatives:

1. 400 & 500 Blocks NYMS Target Area Map

2. Application Form

3. Information about Experienced Architects/ Engineers
Clinton Brown Company
DiDonato Associates P.E., P.C.
Flynn Battaglia
Foit-Albert Associates
HHL Architects
Watts Architecture and Engineering

4. Information about Contractors
a. Recommended to Buffalo Place - Respondents to Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
Frey Electric
Lupini Construction
Nate Construction Company
Northwood Window Restoration 
O'Connell Electric
Peyton Barlow
Pinto Construction Services
Raymond E. Kelley, Inc
Superior Contracting
The MJA Company

Also recommended to Buffalo Place
- BRD Inc. - 82 Pearl Street, Buffalo, NY 14202 - (716) 847-0042 
- J A Gulick Window Co. -  32 Plymouth Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201 - (716) 881-2266
- Industrial Power and Lighting Corp. - 701 Seneca Street, Buffalo, NY14210 - (716) 854-1811   
- Lamparelli Construction Co., Inc. - 590 Kennedy Road, Cheektowaga, NY 14227 - (716) 891-8599  
- Rodems Construction Co., Inc. - 3555 Quaker Road, Orchard Park, NY 14127 - (716) 662-6990
- Sonitrol of Buffalo - 195 Elm Street, Buffalo, NY 14203-2098 - (716) 847-0900

b. Minority and Woman Owned Business Enterprises registered by Empire State Development Corp. and New York State

c. Minority and Woman Owned Business Enterprises in Erie County

d. Contractors Licensed by the City of Buffalo

5. 2015 Definition of Affordable Residential Units

6. NYMS Property Maintenance Declaration Form

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Return of Vehicular Traffic to Main Street

Buffalo Place Inc. is working with the City of Buffalo, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the office of Congressman Brian Higgins on returning vehicular traffic to Main Street in Downtown Buffalo.  Automobile traffic was removed from Main Street in 1982 when the Metro Rail system, including the pedestrian-transit mall free-fare zone on Main Street was built.  The Metro Rail system opened in 1984 and has benefited Downtown and our region.  However, the pedestrian transit mall, completed two years later, limited access to Main Street and contributed to diminished occupancy and development, especially for first floor store fronts.

The Cars Sharing Main Street project team has worked since 2001 to develop a design concept, secure environmental clearance, and launch final design and construction for reintroducing automobiles to these blocks of Main Street.  With the help of our Washington and Albany delegations, funding is in place for the 600 Block construction now underway, and for design and construction of the Fountain Plaza/ 500 Block sections to be built in 2013-2014.

Fountain Plaza/ 500 Block Design and Construction

With the support of a competitive 2011 $15 Million TIGER III grant, the City of Buffalo is progressing with final design and construction of the blocks between Chippewa and Mohawk Street.  The design process, led by the Public Works Department, started in the fall of 2012 and it must be approved and completed by May 2013.  Construction of this section will start in the fall of 2013 and it will be completed in 2014.

The design team is led by DiDonato Associates, who were also the lead consultants for preliminary engineering. Team members include Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, Foit-Albert Associates, and Parsons Brinckerhoff Engineers. Preliminary design concepts were introduced on October 25, 2012.  These will be discussed and developed over the next months with updates posted here for review.  Please send any of your comments to Buffalo Place for forwarding to City Public Works and the design team at info@buffaloplace.com.

Main Street Fountain Plaza/500 Block Rehabilitation, PIN 5760.39
Design Meeting Minutes

        October 25, 2012        
        November 8, 2012 
        November 29, 2012
        December 12, 2012 (NEW)

Fountain Plaza/ 500 Block Design Concepts
Concept Plan – Click below to view the general layout for Main Street between Chippewa and Mohawk including the new Theatre/Fountain Plaza Metro Rail Station, the layout for a reopened Mohawk Street between Washington and Pearl Streets, and a one-way lane of Genesee Street from Main to Huron.

        November 29, 2012 
        October 25, 2012 

Main Street Bike Lanes to Link to Erie Canal Harbor via Chippewa and Pearl Streets
Main Street bike lanes in the 600 and 700 Blocks of Main Street will connect to existing bike network near the Buffalo River via shared bike/ automobile lanes on Chippewa Street, and then by signed and striped bike lanes on Pearl Street to be installed next summer when Pearl is converted to two-way.  Placement of bike lanes on Main Street south of Chippewa is problematic due MetroRail Stations and rail.  Bike lanes can not be placed in front of MetroRail stations because the gap along the rail, which is two feet from the boarding platform, can catch a bike tire.  Bicycles on the back side of MetroRail stations would conflict with pedestrians on the sidewalk. The north-south downtown bike route will be placed on Pearl, the adjacent street.

Fountain Plaza/500 Block Landscape Concepts (NEW)
     12-20-2012 Overall Landscape Plan       
     Tree Species Detail (Excerpt)                 
                 Trees recommended include: 
                 • London Plane - Main Street 500 Block and Roosevelt Plaza
                 • Swamp White Oak - Main Street Fountain Plaza block
                 • Gingko - East Mohawk Street 
                 • Sargent Cherry - Feature trees at corners 
                 See 12-20-2012 Overall Landscape Plan for locations.  Large planters with stone surround, matching stone seating blocks, are on east Main in the 500 Block.  Narrow planters are on Mohawk Street.

        Overall Landscape Plan    
        Main Street Cross Section and Landscape Materials 
        Landscape Materials 2  
        Roosevelt Plaza A   
        Roosevelt Plaza B   
        Railroad Style Gate 

Theatre District - Fountain Plaza Metro Rail Station
Revised Model C Elevation Northbound 
        Revised Model C Elevation Southbound

        Alternatives A, B and C Street View
        Alternatives A, B and C North-South View 

        Alternative A       
        Alternative B        
        Alternative C

Main Street Cross Sections

Flexible Parking Model – Kitchener, Ontario

600 Block Final Design and Construction

This City of Buffalo project is being managed by the Public Works Department. The design team is led by DiDonato Associates, who were also the lead consultants for preliminary engineering. Team members include Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects and Parsons Brinckerhoff Engineers. Many of the design elements used in this block will be familiar to visitors of the 700 Block of Main Street, including: sandstone exposed aggregate concrete sidewalks, the planter layout, plant materials, benches, trash receptacles and bike racks.

Ground was broken for construction in October 2012.  The east side between the portal, where trains travel underground, and Tupper Street is currently underway.  Limited work will occur this winter to prepare the portal section for spring construction.  Utility projects that have to be completed before spring construction season will be noticeable over the winter.  Construction will resume in spring with completion of the portal section, to be followed in early summer by the portal to Chippewa Street section.

Final Design/Construction Elements (NEW) – A few signage and pavement details are being designed for spring 2013 construction:
       Plaza of Stars  - Relocation of Chippewa Street Walk of Fame to Tupper Street Plaza (NEW)
        The plaza area to be created between Tupper Street and the Portal will be the new site for Buffalo’s Theatre Walk of Fame.  Names from the Chippewa Street Walk of fame will be transferred here.

       “You are Here” Pedestrian Directories (NEW)
       “You are Here” Construction Details (NEW)

Two “You are Here” Pedestrian Directories will be placed in the 700 Block of Main Street and three will be located in the 600 block of Main.  A Map and directory of Theatre District attractions will be placed on one side.  The reverse side will display Theatre District historical and architectural interpretive information.

One-sided Pedestrian Directories will also be placed on Pearl Street at Curtain-Up Alley and on Washington Street where pedestrians pass through to Main, at the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center(MAFAC)

90% Design Plans

The City of Buffalo Public Works Department presented 90% Design to 600 Block property and tenant representatives on March 16th, 2011. Alternatives selected during the 70% Design review were discussed, and a few additional choices were made at the meeting. Click Here to look at 90% Design plans.

70% Design Drawings

The City of Buffalo Public Works Department presented 70% Design on January 12, 2010. City engineers requested opinions on several alternatives and were open to comments until February 4, 2011.  Click Here to look at the Design drawings.

Funding for this project comes from the 2005 SAFETEA-LU federal transportation authorization bill and includes local matches provided by the City of Buffalo, NFTA and a New York State Transportation Enhancement Program grant.

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700 Block
The 700 Block of Main Street reopened as a two-way street in July 2009, following construction on the east side during the Spring of 2009 and the west side the previous Fall.  Design elements first seen in the 700 block will be used for the length of Main Street, including street furniture, pavement and curb planters.

The 700 Block of Main Street is a “Complete Street” including bicycle lanes that will eventually link to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in the north and the Erie Canal Harbor in the South.  The bike lanes will continue south on Main Street in the 600 Block and will connect to future bike lanes on Pearl Street via a shared lane on Chippewa.  Pearl Street bike lanes will be installed when Pearl is converted into a two-way street and will link the Theatre District to the existing bike path network at the Erie Canal Harbor.

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Environmental Review - Under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) was the lead agency for the federal environmental review process which started in 2004, under the local leadership of the NFTA.  Following many years of work and draft environmental assessment reports, the FTA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) in October 2009, clearing the way for use of federal and state funding for final design and construction.  The Final City of Buffalo Main Street Multi-Modal Access And Revitalization Project Environmental Assessment Report can be viewed at

The FONSI issued by FTA on October 5th 2009, Environmental Assessment report appendices and public comments can be found at http://www.nfta.com/About/mainStreet.aspx.

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Preliminary Design
The City of Buffalo awarded a contract to DiDonato Associates in 2005 for Preliminary Engineering Design work for returning automobile traffic to Main Street.  NFTA and Buffalo Place worked with the City as project sponsors.  DiDonato Associates, located in the 600 block of Main Street, created a consultant team including: Foit-Albert Associates, from the 700 block of Main Street, URS Corporation, also located in Downtown Buffalo and Mathews Nielsen, a landscape architecture firm with several years of experience on the Erie Canal Harbor project.  The ten month project identified how automobiles will be integrated onto Main Street between Edward/Goodell and HSBC Arena.

The Preliminary Engineering Design phase included the design and location of the Metro Rail stations, design of attractive pedestrian-scale streetscape, how traffic signals and curb parking spaces will be incorporated and coordinate with developments on lower Main Street. The consultants collected base information, completed an engineering survey, designed a computerized traffic model to forecast vehicle and Metro Rail car behavior, and developed concepts for redesigned Metro Rail Stations and the streetscape. Final design of the first phase of construction, the Theatre District, will start in the summer of 2010.

The Preliminary Engineering Report can be viewed at the City of Buffalo website at http://www.city-buffalo.com/files/1_2_1/carsonmain/final_design_report_prelim_design.pdf
An animated video clip showing automobile and Metro Rail traffic sharing Main Steet can be viewed at http://www.city-buffalo.com/files/images/videos/3d_Model_Main.wmv.

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Capital Funding
The New York State legislature approved an $8 million appropriation for Main Street construction in 2006.  This funding will become available for final design and construction following completion of the 2010-2011 New York State budget process.

Buffalo Place would especially like to thank Congressman Brian Higgins for securing $4 million and Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer for contributing an additional $2 million in Transportation funds - SAFETEA-LU.  Over the next few years, the Western New York community will have to work together with our State and Federal officials to obtain funding to complete construction of Main Street south of Chippewa Street.

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Environmental Review Under New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA)
The environmental review of the Main Street Multi-Modal Access and Revitalization Project under SEQRA was completed in early 2003 by the lead agency, the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works.  Buffalo Place participated as a project sponsor with the City of Buffalo, NFTA, Erie County, NYSDOT and the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Committee (GBNRTC).  A preferred alternative was selected following the previous year of detailed consideration of alternatives and their impacts on the economic and environmental health of Downtown.  The Downtown community was involved through numerous public meetings, web postings, email status reports and review by Downtown advocacy organizations. Buffalo Place was involved with outreach to property and tenant contacts as well as Downtown community advocates.

The preferred alternative is for vehicular traffic to share the trainway with Metro Rail.  Sufficient sidewalk width (20-26’) remains to retain the landscaping, benches and amenities that make Main Street a “Pedestrian Street” but the scale can be reduced to a more comfortable level.  Two lanes of vehicular traffic, narrowed Metro Rail stations and 150 curb parking spaces will add vitality during those off-peak hours that now appear desolate due to excessively wide sidewalks.  ERM Associates, the Environmental Review consultant, determined significant economic benefit from increased accessibility and visibility of Main Street properties.

The City of Buffalo, as the lead agency for the State Environmental Review Process, made the official determination of “No Significant Impact.”  A four-year implementation schedule developed with preliminary engineering design for the length of the transit mall to be done in the first year, followed by three phases of construction, per available funding.  One of the major conclusions is that each construction phase must be completed during one construction season so that businesses are not unnecessarily impacted.

Current work on Returning Vehicular Traffic to Main Street is the final engineering design between Tupper and Chippewa Streets.  The goal is for construction to follow in 2011 along with final design of the next construction phase. Buffalo Place will inform our constituents of the status of the project; request advocacy for funding when needed and work to communicate design and construction issues.

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Queen City Hub Plan

In 2005, the American Planning Association (APA) awarded The Queen City Hub: A Regional Action Plan for Downtown Buffalo the Outstanding Planning Award for a Plan. APA is a nonprofit public interest and research organization committed to urban, suburban, regional and rural planning. The award is the highest honor a plan can receive from this prestigious association of professional planners.

The winning of the “Outstanding Planning Award” by the Queen City Hub is just the latest in a string of positive developments occurring in Downtown Buffalo. New residential development has been completed or is continuing at The Belesario, The Sidway Apartments, Ellicott Lofts, IS Lofts, Granite Works, The Lofts at Elk Terminal, Holling Place Apartments and the Pierce Building. The upscale Washington Market has opened and new construction projects are underway or have been announced with the expansion of Erie Community College and the $100 million headquarters for HealthNow New York. Public concerts and events continue to draw huge crowds and national attention, including the ever popular Thursday at Canalside Concert Series and Taste of Buffalo. Work is progressing on the Erie Canal Harbor Project. During this decade Downtown will enjoy $1 Billion in new investment, with $400 million already completed or under construction. We look forward to helping to spur more positive development in in the future and working together with all of our partners to produce a more vibrant, prosperous and vital Downtown Buffalo.

The action plan provides discrete recommendations within nine topic areas. These nine areas are organized into activities and the principles that guide those activities. The activities for Downtown are living, working, shopping, and visiting. The principles that will guide the activities are access, urban design and management, preservation, energy and green design and image. Support for The Queen City Hub implementation has come from the private sector, state and local government and the academic community. This important and innovative plan will guide Downtown for many years to come. The Board of Directors and staff of Buffalo Place Inc. would like to take this opportunity to thank and recognize our partners the City of Buffalo and the Urban Design Project of the University at Buffalo for their hard work and commitment to Downtown Buffalo. To download a version of the Queen City Hub Plan, click here for Volume One and click here for Volume Two. For a Queen City Hub Summary click here for Poster1 and click here for Poster 2.

What’s in a Plan? A Plan is more than just ideas and words. It’s a course of action, based on quantifiable research, that is the crucial first step in spurring development and creating long term, substantial growth. Without a plan, there can be no coordinated development. The Queen City Hub Plan was a collaborative effort and included the input and participation of dozens of public and private sector constituents in our Implementation Council and literally thousands of citizens and stakeholders in plan development and review. With the publicity and recognition that follow the awarding of the industry’s leading planning award, the dream for a new Buffalo is one step closer to becoming a reality.

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Access & Infrastructure

Access: The Planning Department at Buffalo Place manages the implementation of Downtown access projects through the Access Infrastructure Task Force. This multi-agency task force including the NFTA, City of Buffalo, BCAR, GBNRTC, BNMC, ECIDA, and interested Downtown advocates continues to meet monthly to work towards completion of an agreed upon work plan. Access Task Force members have evaluated and prioritized the tasks remaining from the Destination Downtown Buffalo 2002 report and new access projects identified in the Queen City Hub plan. Buffalo Place initiatives on the task list include:

Pedestrian Improvements at High Volume NYS Highway Streets: The Queen City Hub planning process identified the problem pedestrians have crossing busy NYSDOT highway streets Elm, Oak, Tupper and Goodell and how these streets have become barriers between Downtown and nearby residential areas. A committee including representatives from nearby businesses, the City of Buffalo, BNMC, GBNRTC, ECIDA and NYSDOT identified the specific issues on these streets and outlined a process to develop recommendations to be submitted to NYSDOT for consideration.

Two-Way Streets: The Planning Department continues to act as a liaison for communication between the City of Buffalo, property owners and building tenants during the conversion of one-way streets to two-way traffic. New two-way streets have made Downtown more user friendly for businesses and visitors while improving security by increasing the number of cars and eyes on the street. In 2004 Washington Street between Goodell and N. Division became two-way. Next, the northern portions of Ellicott and Washington between Downtown and the BNMC will be converted and feasibility work will start to consider if Pearl, the 700 block of Main Street and Goodell should be changed to two-way.

Urban Design: Urban Design has become one of the priority action areas of the Queen City Hub, with the development of a work plan, prioritizing action items and conducting preliminary research. The Operations Committee of Buffalo Place has adopted this topic. A subcommittee has been established to work on creating Urban Design Guidelines for Downtown, in particular to support the 700 block of Main Street as a residential focus area

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On & Off Street Parking

On-Street Parking: Throughout the past six years, Buffalo Place has worked to reprice meters and change parking regulations to make better use of curb parking in Downtown.

Buffalo Place provided a staff person to work directly with the City Division of Traffic Engineering to repeal and install new parking meter regulations. To date, 530 Downtown meters have been installed or repriced with appropriate signage to reflect the changes on street and 1,100 more will be completed soon. The Division of Parking Enforcement continues to change prices at the curb and install new meters where possible. The plan calls for creation of some 500 all day meters and free parking in areas that do not attract short-term parkers. Short-term rates priced at $0.50 and $1.00 an hour are distributed based on parking demand throughout Downtown.

Off-Street Parking: As part of our ongoing mission to improve access, Buffalo Place created and maintains a comprehensive database of commercial and non-commercial parking facilities. Collected data includes lot ownership, number of spaces, price, peak hour occupancy and contact information. This information is used to inform Downtown users of the location, price and convenience of parking options. CLICK HERE to access our Downtown Publicly Available Parking Map - Publicly Available Parking (NEW)

2012 Utilization of Downtown Buffalo Parking Facilities by Downtown District and Block:

- All Ramps and Lots (NEW)

- Publicly Available Parking (NEW)

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