BUFFALO, NY (WKBW/Release) - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the appointment of Robert D. Gioia, president of the John R. Oishei Foundation and an experienced Western New York business executive and community leader, to serve on the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Board of Directors. The Governor also recommended Mr. Gioia as the next Chairman of the ECHDC Board.
"With years of experience as a successful business executive and community leader in Western New York, Robert Gioia will bring leadership and vision to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation," said Governor Cuomo.
"Mr. Gioia's proven dedication to his hometown of Buffalo and Western New York will make him a major asset to the ECHDC Board of Directors as they work together with the community to transform the waterfront and bring new jobs, energy, and economic development to the entire region."
The Governor's announcement today comes after recent news that the Buffalo Sabres' proposed development, known as HARBORcenter, and estimated to cost $123 million, has been selected by the City of Buffalo as the preferred developer of the Webster Block.
The ECHDC Board is expected to act on the Governor's recommendation to appoint Mr. Gioia as chair at its September meeting.
"I am honored that Governor Cuomo has chosen me to serve on the board of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation," said Mr. Gioia.
"Through the Governor's leadership, ECHDC is delivering what the people of Western New York have been craving for decades, a vibrant, family-friendly waterfront that they can be proud of. I look forward to joining my fellow board members in continuing the great momentum of developing a world-class waterfront in the city that I love."
Mr. Gioia is president of the John R. Oishei Foundation, Western New York's largest philanthropic organization, whose mission is to be a catalyst for change to enhance economic vitality and quality of life in the Buffalo-Niagara region.
A Buffalo native, Mr. Gioia began his career in 1970 as a part of the third generation operating the Gioia Macaroni Company. From 1992 to 2007, he was a principal with the Food Group of Strategic Investments and Holdings, Inc.
Mr. Gioia was chairman of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) from 1990 to 1998 where he pioneered the completion of the $120 million Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. In October 2007, he was appointed chairman of The Western New York Health System (renamed Great Lakes Health).
Mr. Gioia has served on the boards of numerous other groups and organizations, including president of the Board of Trustees of The Nichols School, president of The Martin House Restoration Corporation, chairman of The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, chairman of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, director of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and a trustee of St. Lawrence University.
Mr. Gioia will join the ECHDC Board of Directors at a time when progress on Buffalo's waterfront is being propelled into the next stage of development, due largely to the success of Canalside.
Canalside, a 1.1 million square foot mixed use development, offers over 425 events and attractions and by estimates will bring 500,000 visitors this summer through public access, improvements to the site and public infrastructure.
Current capital projects include a dock and board walk extension, the addition of Liberty Hound and Clinton's Dish restaurants, the construction of historically aligned public canals, and the restoration of Donovan Office Building into 160,000 square feet of mixed use space.
To date, approximately $160 million of private investment has been committed.