NFTA Set to Begin Negotiations on Waterfront Property Transfer

January 8, 2013 Updated Jan 8, 2013 at 7:43 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

January 8, 2013 Updated Jan 8, 2013 at 7:43 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Board of Commissioners met Tuesday during a special session to discuss the transfer of a 384-acre parcel along Buffalo's Waterfront. The NFTA has owned the property since the 1950's and are attempting to transfer the land. Tuesday commissioners gave the green light to begin negotiations with the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation and the City of Buffalo. The ECHDC and the city submitted a joint proposal to take over the property.

"Upon thorough review of the proposal, the NFTA Board of Commissioners provided staff with guidance and direction on how to proceed in negotiating what hopefully will be a timely and mutually beneficial agreement," wrote NFTA Chairman Howard Zemsky in a statement.

What's still unclear is how much the NFTA wants for the waterfront property. The land, including Gallagher Beach and the Small Boat Harbor, is assessed around $10 million. Congressman Brian Higgins wants the land transferred for $2 dollars, the same amount the NFTA paid in the 1950's.

"They don't deserve any money for that property," said Higgins. "They should give it up for the same amount of money they bought it for. They've had 65 years to demonstrate an ability to develop the waterfront and haven't done that."

Zemsky said the board intends on meeting with all parties as soon as possible.