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Original article published in The Buffalo News

By Mark Sommer | September 28, 2021

Later this fall Sinatra & Company Real Estate plans to begin constructing Heritage Point, a mixed-use project that will overlook the canals at Canalside. Image courtesy of the Buffalo Planning Board

The two brick apartment buildings were supposed to be built by now at Canalside. Instead, a chain-link fence still surrounds the land where a developer planned to open in 2020 the first residences and shops on the former Buffalo Memorial Auditorium site. It wasn’t just Covid-19 to blame for the stalled progress. Parking turned out to be a problem, too. Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. in August 2018 approved the mixed-use project, called Heritage Point, encouraged by the prospect of residents looking out from their patios onto the canals and a bustle of activity below.Sinatra & Company Real Estate, the project’s developer, said it is about to put the delays behind. Construction is expected to begin later this fall and be finished in the spring of 2023. Plans call for the two six-story buildings to have a combined 64 apartment units.

“The good news is the project is moving forward, we’re full steam ahead. We’ve gotten through the challenges with Covid and you’ll be seeing activity out there soon,” said Anthony Nanula, Sinatra & Company’s chief investment officer.

The Hurdles

One delay involved a drawn-out process to transfer the state-owned land. Another had to do with finding parking for tenants, which became an imperative after the company could not reach a deal with a nearby parking ramp. Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. eventually agreed to redo a parking lot at nearby Commercial and Pearl streets to provide 64 dedicated parking spaces for exclusive use by the tenants. A waterfront agency official said the parking lot would be leased to the developer at market rate.

A fence surrounds the vacant site at Canalside where the Heritage Point mixed use project was announced in 2018, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. Derek Gee