We Are NYProjects Add to Vibrancy and Public Access on Buffalo’s Waterfront

Pictures of the Terminal B Events Center Available Here

Pictures of Bell Slip Improvements Project Available Here

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the opening of the Terminal B Events Center and the newly improved Bell Slip on the Outer Harbor in Buffalo. Both Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation projects give residents and visitors new ways to access and enjoy all of the Outer Harbor’s amenities and attractions. Today’s announcement coincides with the rare total solar eclipse passing through Western New York, an event that’s also expected to draw crowds to the Buffalo waterfront.

“The Terminal B Events Center and Bell Slip Improvement Project emblemize the next phase in our transformation of Buffalo’s Outer Harbor,” Governor Hochul said. “They will help to ensure that generations of Western New Yorkers will continue to enjoy the waterfront, with all of its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. It’s fitting that we’re opening these sites on the same day that we’re witnessing a total solar eclipse - a generational spectacle.”

The $13 million Terminal B Events Center (pictures here) creates a new outdoor events center and surrounding open space by rehabilitating a vacant structure and utilizing existing parking, while reclaiming 7 acres of contaminated property to open additional public access with new lake views. The project converted the existing 100,000-square-foot enclosed structure into an open-air structure featuring a canopied stage that will be utilized for performances, not-for-profit events, and cultural organizations. Along the event structure’s base, new landscape foundations and stairs were added to enhance accessibility. The existing asphalt drive was renovated, with a secondary walkway added around the sloped lawn, connecting to the existing Lakeside event lawn and circulation path. Site lighting and security measures were installed near the structure and along the pedestrian paths leading to the main entry. Previously used as a storage facility, this is the first time Terminal B has been accessible to the public since 1967.

A sloped lawn with local habitat zones has also been established at the site, creating a natural setting. Within the slope lawn is an overlook deck that is focused on the water. Soil conditions throughout the entire project site were improved following New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regulations. New trees, shrubs and meadow areas were added to diversify the seedbed to support migrating and nesting birds.

The $5 million Bell Slip Improvement Project (pictures here) adds many long sought-after amenities to Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, including a public restroom building and an additional parking lot at a central location. A covered seating area is located along one side of the restroom building, facing Bell Slip. A new overlook deck at Bell Slip also allows the public to get closer to the water’s edge and pedestrian and bike paths are slightly modified to provide a connection to Fuhrmann Boulevard. A large portion of the site includes soil amendments and landscaping improvements, including forest, meadows, grasslands and pollinator fields.

The Summer 2024 events schedule at Canalside and the Outer Harbor will be released soon at buffalowaterfront.com. Outer Harbor Live! at Terminal B will kick off on May 24 with Chappel Roan.

Funding for the Terminal B Events Center and Bell Slip is from the New York Power Authority, through relicensing agreements tied to the operation of the Niagara Power Project. NYPA transferred the land for the park to ECHDC in May 2012 as part of the Buffalo and Erie County relicensing settlement agreement for the Niagara Power Project.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, “These welcomed Outer Harbor additions will bring even more vibrancy, as well as improved public access, to one of Western New York’s most enjoyable destinations.  By further advancing Governor Hochul’s vision for the Buffalo waterfront, this summer will be a can’t miss season at the Outer Harbor.”

ECHDC Chair Joan Kesner said, “We welcome the public to these two beautiful new destinations that further connect the city to Buffalo’s waterfront. Whether you’re looking to take in a concert, stroll the water’s edge or enjoy a quiet retreat, Governor Hochul’s administration is working hard to open up our waterfront and make it a place for everyone to enjoy. These improvements build upon exciting recently completed or under-construction projects at Canalside and the Outer Harbor.” 

NYPA Chair and Buffalo Resident John R. Koelmel said, “As part of relicensing agreements tied to the operation of the Niagara Power Project, NYPA funding is supporting the redevelopment of Buffalo’s waterfront, which has emerged as a top-tier regional destination under Governor Hochul’s leadership. The Terminal B Events Center and newly improved Bell Slip are the latest additions to Buffalo’s Outer Harbor and will provide enhanced accessibility and additional amenities in the area, making it easier for Western New Yorkers and their families to take advantage of recreational opportunities and events.”

The Buffalo waterfront and its development are priorities for Governor Hochul, with today’s ribbon cutting as the latest milestone in a series of her Buffalo waterfront announcements. The Wilkeson Pointe Improvement Project, begun in fall 2023, includes further visitor safety measures, such as moving parking away from the water and at a distance from the site’s pedestrian trail. The project will include a new food service building, restrooms, and a new outdoor seating area either on the patio or within a beach setting. The new design calls for the site’s existing trails to be relocated and elevated near the water’s edge. The landscaping within the site will be improved with the planting of natural species, creating meadows, grasslands and pollinator fields. During construction, the public will have limited access to Wilkeson Pointe. The Wilkeson Pointe Improvement Project is scheduled to be completed in 2025. See renderings here

State Senator Tim Kennedy said, “The Terminal B Events Center is yet another investment in the long-term vision for Buffalo’s Outer Harbor and in ensuring our waterfront reaches its fullest potential. This open-air space incorporates the existing natural landscape, and creates an outdoor experience like no other - one that will serve as a backdrop to concerts and events, and will draw hundreds of thousands of new visitors every year.”

Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera said, “I’ve strongly advocated for the continued reclamation of publicly accessible land along our city’s Outer Harbor, and the opening of the Terminal B Events Center and improved Bell Slip is a wonderful continuation. The new Events Center adaptively reuses a previously vacant structure and reclaims seven acres to open even more of our waterfront to the public. With a full slate of summer events scheduled at Canalside and the Outer Harbor, Buffalo is well on its way to fully utilizing its greatest natural treasure and asset. I want to thank the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, New York Power Authority and Governor Hochul for their continued commitment to progress along our region’s waterfront.”

City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “It’s great to see the opening of Terminal B Events Center and the Bell Slip on the Outer Harbor. These are wonderful additions to our growing waterfront. I thank Governor Kathy Hochul for her continued support of Buffalo's development.”

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, “These exciting developments at the new Terminal B Events Center and the Bell Slip are happening just in time for the warm months ahead and are sure to be welcome additions to the Outer Harbor. Increasing waterfront access and providing the amenities necessary for visitors to enjoy their time by the water are investments that improve quality of life and create great experiences for all, and I thank Governor Hochul for her continued support of projects such as this.”

Buffalo Common Council President Christopher P. Scanlon said, “The opening of the Terminal B Events Center and Bell Slip Improvement Project marks an exciting milestone for Buffalo’s waterfront, enhancing vibrancy and public access for residents and visitors alike. Ongoing projects, such as the opening of the Terminal B Events Center, represent significant multi-million dollars investments in our city, providing new opportunities for cultural events, outdoor recreation, and enjoying the natural beauty of the Outer Harbor. I commend Governor Hochul and all involved for their dedication to revitalizing our waterfront and creating spaces that will be enjoyed by generations to come.”

About Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation
The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) is governed by a nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors. The seven voting directors are recommended by the New York State Governor and are appointed by the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development as sole shareholder of ECHDC. The two non-voting, ex-officio director positions are held by the Erie County Executive and the City of Buffalo Mayor.

As a subsidiary of Empire State Development, the state’s chief economic development agency, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor and the Outer Harbor that is attracting critical mass, private investment and enhance the enjoyment of the waterfront for residents and tourists in Western New York. Its vision is to revitalize Western New York’s waterfront and restore economic growth to Buffalo based on the region’s legacy of pride, urban significance, and natural beauty.