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Canal Side Project Final Agreement Signed: New York Power Authority And Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. Finalize Agreement Vital To Waterfront Redevelopment Efforts

Contact:
Christine Pritchard
518-322-9143
Christine.Pritchard@nypa.gov

July 13, 2010

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BUFFALO – New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel, Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) Chairman Jordan Levy and members of ECHDC’s board of directors today were joined by Congressman Brian Higgins and other state and local officials at an agreement signing ceremony to mark the commitment by NYPA to fund the redevelopment efforts of the Canal Side Project. The final agreement will support the issuance of $105 million in bonds needed to launch major initiatives in the Buffalo Inner Harbor for recreational and community development opportunities considered the cornerstone of Governor David A. Paterson’s vision for revitalizing the Western New York economy.

“The Buffalo waterfront has always been intrinsic to the fabric of the community and has long been the hub of domestic and international trade,” said Governor David A. Paterson. “Today’s final agreement is critical to reigniting the harbor’s revitalization efforts, the spirit of a vibrant city and the renaissance of the Western New York economy. I commend the perseverance of Congressman Higgins, the efforts of Mayor Brown and other local officials, and the dedication of Richie Kessel at NYPA in making this project become a reality.”

“This agreement delivers $55 million in net new funding for waterfront development in Western New York and provides an immediate cash flow that allows us to build on the great momentum we are seeing along the water’s edge,” said Congressman Higgins.  “With the help of Governor Paterson, Richie Kessel and Jordan Levy, who worked hard with us on this agreement and had the foresight to make it happen, the people of this community can expect to see public improvements, and the economic development and jobs that come with it, happen at a much quicker pace thanks to the agreement finalized today.”

“The Buffalo waterfront and the Erie Canal have long been the foundation of the local community, its character and a symbol of the area’s social and economic well-being. With the harbor’s resurgence will come the City’s revival,” Kessel said. “Under Governor Paterson’s leadership the New York Power Authority is proud to partner with the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, Congressman Higgins, Empire State Development and others to fulfill our pledge to the City of Buffalo and to achieve the goal of a vibrant, prosperous harbor community.  We will continue to actively pursue efforts to support Western New York, including the neighbors to the north in Niagara County.”

“Buffalo’s waterfront is the key to Western New York’s renaissance,” said Jordan Levy, Chairman of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation. “This investment by NYPA will ensure that we are able to make the Canal Side project a successful reality.”

Last December, the NYPA Board of Trustees authorized payments in support of the Canal Side redevelopment efforts of $8.4 million a year for 20 years.  Included in these payments is an Industrial Incentive Award of $3.7 million a year as well as an acceleration of a financial commitment made under the 2007 Niagara Relicensing Settlement Agreement to provide a payment stream of $4.7 million for 20 years.

The total financial commitment agreed to by the Power Authority will enable ECHDC to issue approximately $105 million in bonds to finance the key development efforts that will transform downtown Buffalo’s long-dormant canal district into a bustling mixed-use tourism and cultural magnet.

The final agreement, signed today by ECHDC and NYPA, will support ECHDC’s efforts to redevelop the Buffalo Inner Harbor with year-round offerings and experiences, such as restaurants, entertainment venues, retail outlets, cultural attractions, grand public spaces and increased access to Lake Erie and the Buffalo River. The Canal Side project is expected to cost $315 million, made up of public and private funds, and is intended to entice people to the Buffalo’s new waterfront and to keep them coming back.

When fully complete, the Canal Side project has the potential to generate approximately 1,000 new jobs, almost $9.5 million in annual sales tax revenues and $1.2 million in new yearly property taxes for the City of Buffalo.  The ECHDC has indicated that over the course of 20 years, the Canal Side project along will generate approximately $189 million in sales tax revenue.

"This agreement between NYPA and ECHDC marks yet another turning point in the development of a vibrant Buffalo waterfront. I want to thank both these groups for compromising on this critical issue. New York State's commitment to developing the inner harbor continues," said Senator William Stachowski. 

“The Canal Side Project is a step in the right direction for the revitalization of downtown Buffalo.  This project will not only make the Inner Harbor a destination for family fun, but also a hub of job and business opportunities,” said Senator Antoine Thompson.

 "Buffalo deserves a world class waterfront that honors its history as the western terminus of the Erie Canal, sparks economic development, and offers attractions to both tourists and locals.  The Canal side project will achieve all of those goals, and much more.  This is a very exciting project, and I look forward to its completion," said Assemblyman Mark Schroeder.

“The finalization of NYPA’s funding enhancement is critical to the realization of Canal Side and the development of Buffalo’s Inner Harbor,” said Erie County Executive Chris Collins.  “With Erie County, state and federal funds already in the mix, NYPA funding is both appropriate and necessary to achieve the vision for Canal Side as outlined by the leadership of Erie Canal Harbor Development.   This project represents an opportunity for this community that cannot be squandered.”

"This agreement is of critical importance to economic development efforts in Western New York. Besides being a catalyst for this region's financial growth, thousands of jobs will be created along the water's edge. This will give future generations the ability to work and raise their families right here in Western New York," said Legislator Tim Kennedy.

“The redevelopment of Buffalo’s waterfront is an important part of the revival of the city’s economy and we have already seen the benefit of the progress that has been made in reopening the waterfront for recreational and entertainment purposes,” said Mayor Brown. “Now, with this significant funding stream in place, we know we have the resources to bring the promise of the Canal Side project to successful completion. The investment of $105 million in NYPA bond funds should be as strong an indication to anyone that this project is moving forward and that it will help leverage the additional investment that will bring added vibrancy and excitement to the city’s waterfront, but most importantly, it will help create new jobs for our residents. I thank the Governor for remaining committed to this project, NYPA Chairman Richard Kessel for his support of this process, the members of our state legislative delegation for their focus on ensuring that this project remained top of mind in Albany, and Congressman Brian Higgins for his strong leadership in garnering the necessary financial commitment from NYPA as part of the 2007 Niagara Relicensing Settlement Agreement, which has led to this historic agreement.”

Michael J. Townsend, chairman, NYPA Board of Trustees, said: “We are proud to support this historic investment in the Buffalo waterfront and look forward to witnessing the transformation of this community into a thriving cultural and commercial marketplace.”

D. Patrick Curley, NYPA Trustee and resident of Erie County, said: “The Erie Canal Harbor presents an incredible opportunity for the City of Buffalo to redefine its community and character and rediscover its roots as a thriving commercial magnet. This agreement marks the culmination of a tremendous partnership between federal, state and local officials and the steadfast dedication of the Power Authority to foster an economic and social renaissance in Western New York.”

The final agreement, which includes an agreement for the Industrial Incentive Award, will need to be signed by Erie County, the City of Buffalo, Empire State Development Corporation and the Buffalo Homestead Parks Conservancy due to the fact that it modifies the 2007 Niagara Relicensing Settlement Agreement.

Under Governor Paterson’s leadership, NYPA has aggressively supported economic development throughout Western New York, most recently with 25 hydropower allocations to companies committed to expanding existing or building new facilities, investing nearly $1 billion in capital and creating and retaining more than 4,200 jobs. Since March 2008, companies such as Yahoo!, GEICO and Globe Specialty Metals have been awarded low-cost power and have joined the 130 Western New York companies that receive low-cost power generated at NYPA’s Niagara Power Project.

 

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About NYPA:

■ The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. ■ NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives. ■ It is the nation's largest state public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ Approximately 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state. ■For more information, www.nypa.gov.

 

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