State Seeking Developers to Transform Vacant Rainbow Mall

April 4, 2013 Updated Apr 4, 2013 at 12:53 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

April 4, 2013 Updated Apr 4, 2013 at 12:53 PM EDT

NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK (WKBW)- Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) officials joined city leaders and members of the USA Niagara Development Corporation Thursday to announce its seeking developers to transform 200,000 square feet of the vacant Rainbow Centre Mall. ESD is issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) from prospective development teams. The project would be a public-private partnership.

"We're trying to build an infrastructure and momentum here that ultimately the developers will be competing with other developers to be a part of the re-vitalization of this community," said Senior Vice President for Regional Economic Development at the Empire State Development Corporation Sam Hoyt.

City leaders say they welcome all ideas but would would like to see the structure more open to encourage pedestrian traffic. A portion of the mall has already been transformed into the successful Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. Developers will have until late summer to submit and finalize their best ideas. The ESD hopes to name a winning developer in late fall.