Higgins to NFTA: Sell Outer Harbor Property for $2

December 10, 2012 Updated Dec 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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December 10, 2012 Updated Dec 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM EDT


Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - One lawmaker is looking to take another step towards Waterfront development, by helping push along the transfer of a prime chunk of real estate at a bargain basement price.

Congressman Brian Higgins is calling on the NFTA to transfer its land on the Outer Harbor for just two dollars.

Right now the NFTA owns much of the Outer Harbor. Higgins is pushing the NFTA to sell its 384 acres to the Erie Canal Development Corporation.

Higgins is arguing that the corporation should take over the land because "they're effectiveness is very very clear at Canal Side, which went from an area that had almost no visitors to almost half a million this year."

Higgins hopes the Outer Harbor can become a prime piece of property in Buffalo.

However, he says it should be sold for cheap because "the NFTA paid two dollars for it and therefore should sell it for no more than two dollars."

Higgins also accuses the NFTA of neglecting the Outer Harbor, leaving three of its four buildings empty -- and then trying to profit off of land that needs $30 million in repairs.

Without a game plan, it's been a frustrating few years for the owner of the sole occupied building -- Dug's Dive.

Tucker Curtin says "we all have the greatest intentions and they're all about the same. Let's work together and see what we can put on the table."

Even though the restaurant is still planning to expand, Curtin says without knowing the next step, "we have to be a little more cautious as to how we operate our business and the risks that we're taking"

In a statement, the NFTA fire back, saying it plans to get rid of the property.

Chairman Howard Zemsky says "since acquiring the Boat Harbor property the NFTA has invested approximately seven million dollars of infrastructure and improvements. The NFTA has never insisted on recovering our full investment costs."

Zemsky adds it is too early to decide who the land should go to.

The City of Buffalo has shown interest as well.

Both the City of Buffalo and the Erie Canal Development Corporation have until December 17th to submit proposal plans.