8/19/2010Posted by MJ
The Buffalo News reported that NCCC has revealed that Ulrich has contacted them over using the Canal St block for the culinary institute that has been slow moving at securing the old Rainbow Mall site in the Falls.
A Lockport developer wants Niagara County Community College to place its planned culinary arts institute on Lockport’s Canal Street block.
David L. Ulrich has sent a letter to college President James P. Klyczek offering to develop the land for the proposed $13.2 million hospitality and tourism school.
The Canal Street site, which overlooks Lockport’s Erie Canal locks, could save the college millions of dollars, Ulrich claims in the letter.
“While your current project seems to be in constant negotiation and renegotiation,” Ulrich wrote in a letter dated July 23, “we have a site that fulfills all your requirements and will be ready for occupancy within one year....”Up until now the plans have been held secret under a confidentiality agreement. Now that we know what the plan is, it is easier to see why he may have wanted to keep it quiet. I could imagine a lot of misinformation and possibly being shut out of the process if it was revealed between the time he passed it by the city to when he sent out the letter. I'm very curious to see the site plan.
I can see this project working in the Falls or here in Lockport. A satellite specialty campus in either city could be a nice draw for NCCC students, residents and visitors. While not a campus in the heart of Boston, it would lend a good amount more ammenitites then the current commuter campus in the middle of nowhere. I'd be happy to see it take off in either city. Niagara Falls, N. Tonawanda and Lockport (the 3 Niagara County cities) should be seeing this type of investment to add new pieces to their future. I do feel that putting it in the bunker that is the old Rainbow Mall would be a mistake on Niagara Falls' end.
The college’s proposal for the institute, previous versions of which have included classroom space, a restaurant and retail space, has been floated for years as a place to house the school’s hospitality, tourism and culinary arts programs.As for Lockport, tie this in with the original Jack Martin Niagara Wine Trail Emporium, and another store or two and it could be a big winner. Widen the vision and add some residential for students or others to kick it up another knotch. We would end up with a lively block to welcome visitors and residents alike.
The college’s trustees want to build the culinary institute, President Bonnie R. Gifford said, and have an obligation “to explore every opportunity that’s out there.”
“I do like some of the sites in Niagara Falls,” Gifford said, “but I will tell you that the Ulrich proposal was very impressive.”Sounds like there may be some life to the idea but it is most likely still a long shot with most of the inertia behind the Cordish managed Rainbow Mall site. Hopefully a great plan, some enthusiam and a will to get things done can make something happen here.
The Buffalo News has the site plans posted. I've included them at the start of this post. They also posted the actual letter to NCCC from Ulrich along with some audio interviews.
From the drawings it appears that the parking ramp would be at the site of the current city ramp (kill two birds with one stone?) and additional required floor space would be from extending the old Harrison building toward the back. I'll dissect it later.