Waterfront Development News

January 9, 2013 Updated Jan 9, 2013 at 9:07 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink

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January 9, 2013 Updated Jan 9, 2013 at 9:07 AM EDT

Sometime in the next few weeks representatives from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, the City of Buffalo and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. will be meeting to discuss transferring the ownership of the 384-acre Outer Harbor waterfront property.

The meeting was set following a 70-minute closed-door meeting on Jan. 8 of the NFTA's board of commissioners.

The NFTA has been trying to find a new owner for the prime stretch of Lake Erie land, some of which includes the 1,006-slip Small Boat Harbor and the popular Dug's Dive restaurant, for more than one year. After receiving separate bids this past fall from Buffalo and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., the two entities in December decided to jointly collaborate on their offer to the NFTA.

"It is our intention to set up a meeting as soon as possible," said Howard Zemsky, NFTA chairman, in a prepared statement.

A key issue is how much will the NFTA receive as compensation.

Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, has been pushing for the authority to receive a nominal $2 transfer fee, while the NFTA is believed to be asking for a much larger figure.

Last year, the owner of Man 'O Trees offered the NFTA $3 million for the property, but that deal fell apart for a number of reasons including liability governing environmental clean-up costs.

Higgins had hoped the NFTA's transfer of the Outer Harbor property would have been completed by now.

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