Thomas P. Dee, president of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. since 2009, announced he will retire on June 29.
Dee came to the waterfront agency after working for 28 years as principal director of construction services at CannonDesign, a Grand Island-based global architecture firm.
“My time spent at ECHDC has been the most challenging and most rewarding period of my life,” Dee said in a statement. “I believe that history will judge that the transformation of Buffalo’s waterfront has exceeded all expectations, and will prove to be a major turning point in our city’s rich history. I am proud to have made such a significant contribution to my hometown.”
“Tom was instrumental in shaping a vision for our waterfront at Canalside and the Outer Harbor,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement.
Dee, as president, has overseen the development, design and construction of Canalside through an estimated $70 million investment that has paved the way for more than $500 million of private development in the surrounding area. He has also overseen the Outer Harbor's redevelopment, and design of the Ohio Street corridor.
“Tom has been a dedicated and valuable leader for the ECHDC team, as well as our community, and I am proud to have worked with him to advance our waterfront,” said Robert Gioia, Erie Canal Harbor Development's chairman.
“Before Tom took on the role of president of ECHDC, the people of Buffalo could not even imagine the potential of their waterfront – but Tom did, and he worked tirelessly to champion that waterfront, transforming it into a world-class tourism destination," Gioia said.
Dee said in the statement he was most proud "of restoring pride in our spectacular waterfront, providing equitable and inclusive access to the water’s edge and installing confidence in economic development from the private sector.
"There is still a lot of work to be done, and I’m confident my colleagues and the leaders at Empire State Development can guide the process forward,” Dee continued. “It’s been an honor to serve New York State, and I want to thank Governor Cuomo for providing me with the opportunity to make such a meaningful difference.”
"Tom has played an integral role in revitalizing our waterfront and building momentum for the future of Buffalo,” Empire State Development President Howard Zemsky said. “The renewed spirit and optimism of this community is a testament to his commitment and dedication to Buffalo.”
No decision on a replacement has been made.