Minkel told to find the NFTA different office space and sell downtown property

Officials in the administration of Governor Kathy Hochul have signaled to longtime Niagara Frontier Transporation Authority (NFTA) Executive Director Kimberly Minkel that she should begin planning a relocation of the agency’s headquarters to new office space, either in downtown Buffalo or elsewhere in Western New York, in order to free up valuable real estate.

The agency’s headquarters and intra-city bus station occupy two large city blocks in the core of downtown adjacent to the Erie County Community College and M&T Bank‘s corporate headquarters.  City officials — including Mayor Byron Brown — want to see the parcels redeveloped to accommodate high-density high-end housing, office, and retail space.

Agency officials presume that Minkel will relocate the office into space already owned by the NFTA on the campus of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, while other officials speculate that she may issue an RFP for office space that is commercially available downtown or in Larkinville.

It’s unclear who will redevelop the downtown site — whether the NFTA would solicit developers for the parcel, or whether they would transfer the property to a different entity, perhaps the City of Buffalo or the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC).  Urban planners insist that repopulating downtown Buffalo with full-time residents of every income level will be key to the broader revival of downtown, and particularly of the Main Street commercial district.

Current tenants — Greyhound Lines, Greyhound Canada, Coach USA, Megabus, Coach Canada, New York Trailways, and Liberty Cab — will be relocated to the newly opened Amtrak Exchange Street Station.

The NFTA’s headquarters is a product of the 1960s era of slum clearance and urban renewal, in which Buffalo suffered the planned destruction of much of downtown. The architecture of the period was heavy on concrete and was designed with little regard for the urban fabric of the neighborhood of the vibrancy of surrounding streetscape.



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