The New Urban Renewal

Downtown Niagara Falls at night

Lots of gears are turning in Niagara Falls.

If you’ve been following along development news here in the Cataract City (or this blog), you’re quite familiar with the stop-and-go pace of development over the years.

Now, halfway through 2021, the city’s received what can only be described as the blueprints for a new Urban Renewal.

Let’s take a look at all of the new developments:

The Five New Districts

USA Niagara has gone full steam ahead on redevelopment in the area, with the restructuring of their development zones downtown.

The new zones consist of Park View, Gorge Gateway, The Canal, Old Falls, and Upper Rapids.

Plans for these areas include several new hotels, event space, retail, a brewery, and a new upper rapids observation deck.

The observation deck would most likely complement the new rapids access stairs along Buffalo Avenue.

Another interesting note in the preliminary plan is a new state park lodge on Second and Main (originally infamously planned for Goat Island.)

The historic notes on the development regions has not been lost. Renderings show everything from restoring the Niagara Hudson sign on Third Street to attempting to rebuild the historic International Hotel.

A New Rainbow Centre

The Rainbow Centre is finally seeing some movement after WonderFalls was cancelled. Plans include hiring Marvel Architects to punch a hole through the building for pedestrian access, and build in retail and food service by 2024.

This is obviously going to combine well with the previously mentioned new district strategy, helping to create a more cohesive downtown.

Rebuilding Main Street

After several attempts, the Main Street area is finally getting some love in the form of $10 million in redevelopment funding.

Projects include a new innovation hub, a hotel, retail, streetscape improvements, a new Freedom Plaza, and even a DiCamillo museum.

Combined with the new park access gorge route and Underground Railroad Heritage Center, this development should bring Main Street back to life.

The New Visitor Center

The State of New York is deciding to double-down on their park improvements with a new $46-million visitor center. The new center will be at the entrance to Niagara Falls State Park, and will sit in the footprint of the current Orin Lehman Visitor Center.

While some are frustrated with the State investing in a visitor center outside of the city, the recent restructuring of the park entrance actually blurs the line (in a good way) between the park and the city. The new visitor center certainly has Niagara Experience Center vibes.

These developments are really only the tip of the iceberg. The city is seeing a lot of development momentum, and it wouldn’t be surprising for these plans to result in some real gems.

What development are you excited about, flock? Let me know in the comments below.

-Sheepie ❤

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