Developers support locations for Albright Knox, Philharmonic near Niagara Falls State Park

Gordon Reger, who leads the ownership group of the landmark One Niagara Center, is preparing a redevelopment plan for the former Occidental Chemical headquarters that has since been redeveloped into a tourist welcome center. It is rumored that Reger favors redeveloping the property with an iconic tenant: the Albright Knox Gundlach Art Gallery.

It is projected that a Niagara Falls gallery located adjacent to the State Park could attract more than 2 million annual attendees, and could do so at ticket prices considerably higher than the museum’s standard ticket prices of $12 for adults; $8 for students; and $6 for children. That could mean massive new cash flows for the gallery that would allow for new programming, more exhibits, additional curators, and global stature for the institute.

With Governor Andrew Cuomo already pledging to provide state resources for the redevelopment of private properties within a block of the State Park, construction of an impressive new art museum could be wholly financed by the State of New York — perhaps costing as much as $200 million– an obvious boon for the institution.

Only a block away, ‘the Turtle’ sits empty. The long vacant building operated as a Native American themed museum attraction until it was purchased by Manhattan developer Howard Milstein, who has held it for speculative purposes. Activists have long called on the State to use eminent domain to acquire the long dormant property from the developer.

It is thought that Roger Trevino, who manages Milstein’s local real estate interests, is preparing to unveil plans for a 3,000 seat symphony concert hall — and is hoping to woo the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra as its anchor tenant.

A professional symphony orchestra that plays the music of Elvis, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, and all sorts of American popular culture through the decades could be hugely successful in the Niagara Falls market.

At peak season (with ticket prices starting at $30 and three shows performed daily) the venue could generate $270,000 a day through the summer months; with fewer performances scheduled off-season. It could represent a huge growth opportunity and a second location for the Buffalo Philharmonic.


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