News Editorial Board
Long before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted much of the economy of upstate New York, the plan to transform Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad Terminal into a subway station and shopping mall was slowed down by a lack of funding.
Work on the $ 52 million subway station on the first floor is underway, but it remains to be seen whether developer Samuel J. Savarino can deliver on his plan to make the second floor a viable public and commercial space. In Sunday’s Buffalo News, he presented a vision that begins this task in a hopeful way.
The report from a consulting firm, commissioned by Savarino Cos., Calls for “an inclusive place where arts, food and music bring people together in a versatile gathering place unique to the region”.
The report, prepared by the Project for Public Spaces, predicts a price tag of $ 20 million to $ 30 million, doubling or tripling Savarino’s original estimate for the project. It’s a big investment, but one that Washington may be able to help finance. Savarino and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which owns the building, must demonstrate that the return on such a large public investment would justify the cost.
Representative Brian Higgins told The News he believes federal infrastructure money and historic tax credits would make enough money available to fund much of the project. Higgins and State Senator Tim Kennedy, another Buffalo Democrat and proponent of the bill, will have to convince other lawmakers that the millions they are asking will be well spent.