Multiple projects happening in Falls tourism, entertainment districts | Local News

Look around downtown Niagara Falls and it seems like not much is happening. Oh sure there are some ‘For rent’ signs in the windows on Third Street but not much more.

Appearances are not what they seem.

Consider for example the Montante Development project slated for the Third and Ferry in the buildings that were once Niagara Hudson and the Imperial Garage. Late last year, the city turned over ownership of the alley between the properties to create an outdoor space. Later this summer, according to Anthony Vilardo, president of Niagara USA Development, gas tanks will be removed from the lot in the back.

All are precursors to major renovations which still may be a year away. Montante has been marketing the property but has not taken possession because of a minor issue delaying the closing.

Meanwhile, the process to redevelop the former Rainbow Mall remains under way. Vilardo said later this summer the design details should be finalized with construction to happen in 2023 and the new facility to open in 2024.

Marvel Architects of New York is designing the new

facility under a contract paying it $ 4,305,663 in Buffalo Billion funds. The Adaptive Reuse will reimagine 150,000 square feet of the unused mall in the heart of the downtown tourism district.

One of the major elements will be opening the center of the former mall to what was once Thomas Street, restoring a sense of what was once a significant urban street grid gutted in the name of urban Renewal.

In the same area sits the building affectionately known as the native building and marked by a Hiawatha belt and the historic First Presbyterian Church on First Street. The church will be losing its inappropriate neighbor.

Villardo said after the demolition of the First Street structure, it will be replaced with several smaller, more remarkable buildings.The RFPs are being scored with development rights to follow.

Back on Third Street, the former Third Street Taproom is undergoing renovation and will become Halligans under the management of Jason Zona who is partners in Cataract Development with Jason and Matt Cafarella.

Cataract is also renovating the Donatello’s pizza building with eight market rate apartments going upstairs. The bar now recently known as Rust is becoming Crown and Shield Brewing, the dream of John Meteer, best known as a brewmaster at Brickyard Brewing.

Cataract was busy last week installing a back patio that will serve as a beer garden. Matt Cafarrella, on site Supervising work as part of Cafarella Concrete Construction, said the apartments will be 1 and 2 bedroom with Rents starting at about $ 1,000 monthly and targeting students and hospitality workers.

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