NIAGARA FALLS – The new $43 million train station continues to sit unoccupied on Main Street without its anchor tenant Amtrak, and without a retail tenant.
Mayor Paul A. Dyster, like a parent who is continually asked, “Are we there yet?” told the City Council on Monday that they expect to have an agreement in place soon. But the promise of “soon” is the same answer city leaders have been giving for months, following a ceremonial opening of the station at the end of July.
Council Chairman Andrew Touma asked if there had been any progress on the negotations with Amtrak.
“We are down to literally the last issue,” Dyster told the Council. “We are very, very close.”
Dyster declined to disclose details of the negotiations in public.
Touma also questioned whether there was any interest in the 4,625-square-foot portion of the building set aside for retail businesses.
Anthony Vilardo, director of business community development, said he took a potential tenant through the building on Friday.
He told The Buffalo News after the meeting that five interested parties have toured the space, mostly food service businesses, but he admitted it was hard to promote the space without trains stopping there to pick up and drop off passengers.
In other business, the Council approved a food truck ordinance, which sets limits on hours of operation and locations for mobile food trucks. Food trucks must pay an annual $200 permit fee and have liability insurance.
Touma said after the meeting that city officials spent months working on the ordinance and felt it was especially important for a tourist city like Niagara Falls to have an ordinance in place. He said they wanted to have parameters outlined to make sure the trucks don’t infringe on existing businesses.
“This is such a growing area,” Touma said of food trucks. “We felt it was important to put some things into law.”