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MASIELLO UPBEAT ON LATEST PLAN FOR DEVELOPMENT OF WATERFRONT

Buffalo's latest plan for reviving the city waterfront will offer a year-round mix of interests that will draw developers, Mayor Masiello said Tuesday.

"We're going to continue the momentum that's been created with the Inner Harbor," he said. "It's not going to happen tomorrow, but once we have consensus on the plan, I think you'll see developer interest."

The city is set to unveil a development plan that expands into the northern Outer Harbor area, with residential neighborhoods as well as public and commercial attractions.

The plan also envisions public walkways along all shoreline areas, buildings with mandatory public spaces and indoor parking erected close to the water's edge for year-round access, and a dramatic swing bridge providing access from downtown to the Outer Harbor.

Masiello said a public hearing will be scheduled to discuss the plan, which was outlined in Sunday's editions of The Buffalo News.

"I hope people don't just kind of get fixated on one thing in the plan that they like or don't like," the mayor said. "Maybe it needs tinkering, but we have to have some dialogue."

City planners hope to provide a development framework and guidelines, allowing developers to submit specific plans for approval. The plan opens development parcels over the next 10 to 15 years.

Masiello said the inclusion of residential neighborhoods along what is now northern Fuhrmann Boulevard is vital to ensure year-round waterfront usage and a "critical mass" for private development.

"It provides a continuity of urban planning and urban community," he said. "It blends so beautifully with that Inner Harbor area."

Masiello said he was not aware of any developer inquiries at this early stage of the process.

"Once the plan comes to fruition, I think you're going to see developers of some stature expressing interest," he added.

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