South Buffalo BOA

2006 - 2010

Buffalo, New York

Urban Strategies, in collaboration with URS, was the lead consultant for the South Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Study. The study involved the preparation of a Masterplan and New York State Brownfield Nomination Document for New York State’s largest Brownfield Opportunity Area. An 800 hectare area adjacent to Buffalo’s downtown and waterfront. In contrast to the existing “shovel ready” initiatives espoused for the site, Urban Strategies plan seeks to leverage the sites existing assets, including its scale, natural amenities and infrastructure, to position the BOA to cultivate a range of use clusters that can capture and build upon emerging regional growth sectors.  Potential land uses focus on achieving greater long-term employment diversification and sustainability, with emphasis on green industry, business parks and R&D, sectors which have significant growth potential and offer higher value employment opportunities.

The plan balances the need for short term growth through a careful land use and phasing strategy that supports existing industries but preserves high-profile sites for complimentary clusters of activity with the ability to drive regional growth and foster synergies. Early phase investment either responds to existing market demand or is targeted to public realm and infrastructure improvements that will allow for higher value land uses over time.

Seminal to the success of the plan will be the ability for the BOA to segment and create a strong market brand capable of transforming negative perceptions and attracting new uses. The land use framework enables a range of new uses but coordinates clusters of activity to ensure that new investment doesn’t preclude higher value investment over time. By prioritizing investments in public realm, place making and neighbourhood assets, the plan raises expectations and creates a setting for community and economic development. The natural environment is preserved both for its intrinsic worth and for the value it creates as an attractive setting for development. Hundreds of acres of connected open spaces, both enhanced and new, will establish an identity for the BOA as a place for nature and recreation. As a testament to the process and forward looking ambitions of the plan, the BOA was recently designated one New York State’s Smart Growth Spotlight Communities.

Riverbend looking south

Client: City of Buffalo and the State of New York

Consultant Team: URS Corp., RCLCo., Watts Architecture & Engineering

Staff: Mark Reid, Melanie Hare, Craig Lametti, Mihaly Szabo

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