NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — USA Niagara Development Corporation and the City of Niagara Falls unveiled their preliminary plans for the former Rainbow Centre Mall on Tuesday. The plan is to create an open-air passage through the center of the old mall and attract tenants that will provide entertainment to residents and tourists throughout the year.
“This building stretches over two city blocks. There’s a historic street that ran through the center point of that. It's very bad urban design. We're trying to right a wrong of urban renewal,” said Anthony Vilardo, the president of USA Niagara.
This project is considered a stepping stone to larger projects in downtown Niagara Falls. The mayor hopes more year-round attractions will create better full-time jobs for the people who live in Niagara Falls.
“We really need to focus on what will families in this community enjoy having for themselves and for their children. If we're able to focus on that, then the millions of tourists that come here, I'm sure those families we’ll enjoy it too,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino.
Currently, the NCCC Culinary Institute is the only tenant of the building. The rest of the building, that is owned by the city, is mostly used for parking.
In the plans, when the two portions of the old mall are separated to create the passage, parking will remain over top. The more than 1,400 spaces that will remain in the plans are an important aspect for the city and neighboring future developments, according to Vilardo.
USA Niagara Development will be reaching out to the private sector shortly to entertain possible tenants for the reused mall.
If all goes according to plan, construction could begin in 2023.