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Sun Feb 21, 2021, 02:57 PM

Buffalo: Developer wants 'inclusive' process to plot DL&W's future

Developer wants 'inclusive' process to plot DL&W's future

Robert J. McCarthy Feb 21, 2021 Updated 3 hrs ago

For 103 years, the hulking Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Terminal has anchored the foot of Main Street, these days as host to the busy yard and shops of Metro Rail.

But ever since the last inter-city passenger train departed in 1962, its cavernous upper floor has remained eerily vacant, waiting for some re-use of its 60,000 square feet of indoor space and another 40,000 square feet on its outdoor platform.

Now, developer Samuel J. Savarino is seeking the community's ideas for the historic train shed's next 103 years. As part of the newest phase of his "pre-development agreement" with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority enabled by a $36,000 fee, Savarino wants input from a host of "stakeholders" elected officials, downtown businesses, property owners, community groups, social service agencies, other developers in the neighborhood like Douglas Jemal and Nick Sinatra, historians and preservationists, mostly through focus groups. His goal is to determine how to make the DL&W an integral part of the city's burgeoning waterfront.

"The idea is to be as inclusive as can be, but also to have a reasonable discussion," Savarino said. "We're out there in the community talking to a number of people."

Even Savarino has yet to decide on any future for the DL&W, where a $52 million project financed by New York State is reconfiguring Metro Rail tracks and building stairs, escalators and elevators to the empty second floor. Maybe it will be some sort of public market, he says; maybe it will feature museum space or artist quarters.

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he DL&W Terminal on the Buffalo River.

Derek Gee/Buffalo News

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