In April 2019, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Buffalo State College President Katherine Conway-Turner officially announced that the college affiliate, BSCR Corporation, had been chosen as the designated developer for 166-170 Dart Street, the current site of the City of Buffalo Impound Lot. The site is located on the western campus border, adjacent to Buffalo State Building 50 and parking lot G-20.
The BSCR Corporation has entered into a designated developer agreement (DDA) with the City, through which it has agreed to develop the concept design for a project on the site. A second agreement, a land disposition agreement (LDA) will be executed later in the process between the City and the successful developer. The LDA is a contract for sale of land for private development. Once it is executed design of the project will begin, informed by community input.
The possibilities for development of the land are open; there is no pre-determined use for the site. As a land-locked institution, Buffalo State has a rare opportunity to extend its campus footprint, while contributing to the revitalization of Buffalo's West Side.
In fall 2019, BSCR Corporation and Buffalo State requested proposals for development of the site and received three qualified proposals in response. After a pause in public activity related to the COVID-19 public health emergency, those proposals were presented to the public at a virtual exhibition on September 14, 2020.
Here are responses to the most frequently asked questions about this transformative development opportunity and the three proposals from RFP respondents presented to the public:
1. What are the roles of Buffalo State College and the BSCR Corporation in the development of 166-170 Dart Street?
As described in a designated developer agreement (DDA) executed with the City of Buffalo, the college-affiliated BSCR Corporation is tasked with developing the 166-170 Dart Street project for the benefit of Buffalo State College to further its educational mission.
BSCR Corporation is a not-for-profit corporation empowered to accept or purchase property on behalf of Buffalo State College and the Buffalo State College Foundation.
Buffalo State is an adjacent neighbor to the Dart Street property. The project site is located on the western campus border, near Buffalo State Building 50 and parking lot G-20. The college expects to be a user of the project.
As Buffalo State President Katherine S. Conway-Turner notes, “Because we are a land-locked institution, this (development project) is a rare opportunity for our urban campus to extend its footprint, while also contributing to the exciting revitalization of Buffalo’s West Side. It is our hope that the final development plan will be one that is welcoming and supportive of the community, provides new and unique opportunities for our students, and supports Buffalo State’s mission as an anchor institution for our great city.”
2. Three respondents have submitted concepts for future use of the Dart Street property. How were these proposals received?
In fall 2019 the BSCR Corporation issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking concepts for the development of 166-170 Dart Street. An RFP is a document defining the scope and requirements of a project. Its purpose is to solicit organizations willing to execute the project defined by the RFP often by suggesting their approach to execution. A respondent (developer) is selected from a pool of qualified respondents to execute the development. A respondent can only be considered if it meets the requirements of the RFP and negotiates an agreement to move forward.
3. Did Buffalo State collaborate with the RFP respondents who have presented concepts?
No, Buffalo State did not collaborate with the developers. Buffalo State did provide all prospective respondents with a wide array of materials and information about the college in order to inform their independent presentations – including the Buffalo State mission, vision, institutional values, strategic plan, facilities master plan (with recent studies on housing, space and classroom utilization) and academic priorities. The college also shared its vision that the successful project would:
Buffalo State encouraged open, innovative and creative thinking about plans for the Dart Street Site. The possibilities for development of the land were open; the college had no pre-determined uses in mind.
4. Once completed, will this development be accessible to the community?
Yes, the development will be accessible to the broader community. Buffalo State will not be the sole tenant or user. Reflected in the project vision and included in the RFP was the requirement that the successful project welcome the community and support revitalization efforts on Buffalo’s West Side.
The programming, design and financial structure of the project will incorporate access for the surrounding community. Assurances of public access will be part of negotiations with the City and subsequent approval processes (i.e. Planning Board and Common Council).
5. Will the community have access to Scajaquada Creek via the project site?
RFP respondents were asked to “consider waterfront access, green space and other sustainable solutions” while developing their proposals. How and where waterfront access may occur will need to be coordinated with state governmental agencies and the City of Buffalo, as rights-of-way and property ownership on the water's edge need to be confirmed. Waterfront access can be addressed in negotiations between the City and the developer as a desired approach and then included in the design process and subsequent operational plan.
6. Some of the RFP respondents have proposed that elements of their projects be placed at Buffalo State. Is the Buffalo State campus within the scope of the Dart Street project?
No. The defined development site is 166-170 Dart Street, formerly the City of Buffalo Auto Impound Lot. Development on property other than the defined project site, if any, would be a separate, future undertaking.
7. Who is responsible for funding this project?
Consistent with the project vision and the elements of the RFP, the successful developer will create the funding plan for this project. Respondents were asked to consider creative and viable funding solutions to bring the development to fruition, while taking into account future operating costs and impacts to the campus.
Respondents to the RFP were asked to:
8. Who will own the property? Who will operate the project?
RFP respondents were free to propose their own scenarios for ownership and operational responsibility for the completed project. Therefore ownership of, and management responsibility for, the completed development are still to be determined.
The successful developer proposal must thoroughly consider future operating costs and the financial impact of the project on the college. RFP respondents were asked to propose ways to make the project economically self-sustaining for the long term, without including Buffalo State College as a financial contributor.
Later in the process, once ownership is determined, the property will be transferred according to the terms and conditions of a land disposition agreement (LDA) with the City of Buffalo.
9. Will there be further opportunities for community input about this project?
Yes, there will be additional opportunities for comment. Consistent with the terms of the RFP, the developer will seek community input during the beginning phases of design and in conjunction with any city approval processes. In the meantime, we welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your interest in the Dart Street Project.
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