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Canalside Carousel, Heritage Point up for city review next week

Two major new Canalside projects that would bring $26.3 million in investment and three buildings to Canalside are poised for city approval as soon as next Monday.

The Buffalo Planning Board will review the proposed $5.3 million Buffalo Heritage Carousel and KeyBank Roundhouse, as well as Nick Sinatra's planned $21 million Heritage Point mixed-use complex, when it meets at 4 p.m. at City Hall.

Both projects are part of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.'s efforts to turn Canalside into a year-round destination for tourists, but also for residents drawn by its restaurants, shopping and apartments.

The board will review plans by Sinatra & Co. Real Estate for Heritage Point, a two-building complex of 103,000 square feet, separated by inclined open space that would follow part of the route of the former Prime Slip and lead to the towpath. That proposal, which beat out rival concepts from Savarino Cos. and Douglas Development Corp., was initially approved by the state a year ago.

A rendering of Heritage Point, the new mixed-use project proposed for Canalside by Nick Sinatra. (Courtesy of Buffalo Planning Board)

The two five-story buildings, which would overlook the canal, would feature a combination of restaurants, shops, offices and 41 apartments with accessible black-metal balconies and aluminum-clad wood windows. A connected basement level would offer shared access and services between the buildings. In all, the structures would contain 71,000 of space.

Another rendering of Heritage Point, the new mixed-use project proposed for Canalside by Nick Sinatra. (Courtesy of Buffalo Planning Board)

The buildings would feature mansard roofs and dormers, with a gray stone veneer base running from the towpath level to the second floor window sills to match the granite stone used in the recreated canal walls. That would be followed by a stone band, while the upper floors would feature a brick masonry veneer, set back in places to provide some depth and differentiation. Arched stone window and door frames line the ground floor.

Another view of Heritage Point, the new mixed-use project proposed for Canalside by Nick Sinatra. (Courtesy of Buffalo Planning Board)

The north side would offer direct access to the towpath level along the canal, while the first building would have projecting bays on both the north and south sides. Located on the South Aud Block, the project will face Marine Drive and the Explore & More Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Children's Museum. It's expected to open in phases, starting with ground-floor retail by May 2020.

Nick Sinatra's proposed Heritage Point project at Canalside. (Courtesy of Buffalo Planning Board)

The roundhouse building, to be located along the wooden boardwalk, will serve as a home and "protective envelope" for the restored historic 1924 wood DeAngelis Carousel, which was originally produced by the Herschell-Spillman Carousel Cos. in North Tonawanda, according to documents submitted to the Planning Board. The nonprofit volunteer organization will operate the building and carousel, charging $1 per ride.

Located on 0.19 acres across from KeyBank Center, the $4 million octagonal building will be enclosed in glass on multiple sides, with partitions between wooden columns and large sliding glass doors that will open and allow for ventilation.

According to plans by Eco-Logic Studio, the 5,281-square-foot timber-frame pavilion will include an interior public viewing area, consisting of a 13-foot-wide walkway around the inside of the roundhouse, surrounding the $1.3 million carousel itself on a polished concrete floor.

'Another piece of the story': Canalside carousel on track to open in July 2020

The Douglas fir structure will feature large windows, a double-pitched black metal roof cladded with blue solar shingles, and a cupola at the top. There will be connecting triangular rooms on the south side of the building to house additional space for a heritage display, as well as a small mechanical room.

Construction by Buffalo-based Arbour Construction Management is expected to take 10 months, according to the application, with plans to open by July 2020.

The Planning Board also will review:

  • A request by Washington, D.C., developer Douglas Jemal — whose Douglas Development Corp. is redeveloping Seneca One Tower — for an air rights easement over part of Main Street and the Metro Rail train tracks. That's where he plans to construct a pedestrian footbridge on the south side of the tower to connect the new plaza level office additions he's constructing on either side for M&T Bank Corp. Jemal has agreed to pay $68,000 for the air rights easement.
  • A zoning map amendment for 729-735 Sycamore St. and 137 Herman St. to allow Lucky Majid to open a grocery store and takeout restaurant.
  • A second extension of a prior approval for Hispanics United of Buffalo to construct its La Plaza senior housing project at 253 Virginia St. The project had been approved on Nov. 20, 2017 and extended a year later. Officials are seeking a further extension as they work to secure funding, particularly Housing Trust Fund and 9% low-income housing tax credits from New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

Two new buildings to bring residential space, retail to Canalside

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