The person who helped guide the comeback of the Richardson Olmsted Campus will try to do the same with the Central Terminal.
Monica Pellegrino Faix has been named executive director of the Central Terminal Restoration Corp., where she will put urban planning, a keen interest in historic preservation and experience in large-scale redevelopment to work on behalf of the former 1929 Art Deco train station.
"This is a momentous time for the Central Terminal and the entire East Side, and we are extremely lucky to be able to bring on someone with so much experience, expertise and passion,” Jim Hycner, chairman of the nonprofit organization, said in a statement.
“The reuse of the Richardson Olmsted Campus was a game-changer for Buffalo, and there are so many parallels between that landmark project and ours at the Central Terminal," Hycner said. "Monica’s leadership will be crucial as we continue to move forward with the restoration and renovation of the terminal.”
Pellegrino Faix, who was executive director of the Richardson Center Corp. for six years, will help guide redevelopment and restoration, oversee current and future capital improvements and strengthen the building's connection to the surrounding neighborhood.
"What really excites me, besides being an amazing building, is the opportunity to connect to the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood," said Pellegrino Faix, who began her new job on Aug. 26. "We want to find out what is going to make a great opportunity for the neighborhood, as well as a reuse that saves the building."
The Niagara Falls native returned to Western New York after being in Alaska for two years while her husband worked in Anchorage. She has also served as board director for USA Niagara Development Corp. and as a trustee for Preservation Buffalo Niagara.
Her position is being funded by the East Side Collaborative Fund, which has awarded more than $500,000 to local nonprofits involved in revitalizing four commercial corridors on the East Side through a complementary program called East Side Avenues.
The efforts are supporting the state's East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund that was announced in the spring.
Pellegrino Faix said she sees "real momentum" on the East Side because of the multiple initiatives being supported collaboratively by state and private foundations.
Parts of the Central Terminal's concourse, waiting room and former restaurant are being restored to make it a year-round destination for special events, following recommendations from the Urban Land Institute in 2017. It's being funded through a $5 million state grant from Empire State Development.
The Central Terminal in its heyday served more than 200 trains and 10,000 passengers daily. It operated for 50 years before closing as a passenger train station in 1979.