Transformation Tuesdays

Old Niagara Falls photos are often shared on social media. We always appreciate looking back at our history, but we also know that memories alone do nothing to create better outcomes. There is no nostalgia check coming in the mail, and in fact some parts of our community’s past (even in the perceived “good old days”) are best seen as lessons in poor decision making.

Despite all of that, our department is working with many stakeholders to make positive change in our city, today. Hard work is creating results. Do not just take our word for it. This is not spin. On Tuesdays, we will share transformation photos of a recently completed development or project that we are proud to be a part of. We believe in the “Before” and “After” as the best way to tell the current story of Niagara Falls.

Hopefully the posts will be conversation starters and motivate citizens to check out what is new, or restored, in the City of Niagara Falls. As always, our social media conversations are a way to tell our community’s own story, without waiting for someone else to.

 

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Transformation #1

Power City Eatery – 444 Third Street

444 Third Street was a parole office for many years. Now, it is home to the Power City Eatery, which will be celebrating its second anniversary this summer. PCE’s local owners completely reimagined and renovated the space, which is now home to fresh breads, bagels, coffee and classic New York City deli fare. Before its creation, the building just blended into the landscape. Today, PCE is a gathering place for both locals and tourists alike. It also serves as a prime example that any building can have a second act, with some imagination and hard work.

Transformation #2

Niagara City Lofts - 561 Portage Road

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Niagara City Lofts - 561 Portage Road

In 2013, the former South Junior School was vacant, blighted, off the tax rolls and headed towards a multi-million dollar demolition. Completed in 2017, the 88,000 square foot building now hosts 61 occupied apartments, a dance studio and is producing tax revenue rather than costing it.

The power of partnerships brought this proud building back to life.

In 2013, Niagara Falls voters approved the City School District's sale of the building to CB Emanuel Realty by a five to one margin. The Community Development Department hosted neighborhood meetings for the developer to discuss details with residents. New York State's Empire State Development and Department of Homes and Community Renewal assisted with renovation financing. Niagara Falls Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. signed on as a community partner. Many people and organizations got together and added value to this neighborhood.

There were points during this project where the outcome was not clear. The building was severely water damaged and did not have many winters left. There were naysayers. We heard "this project just isn't going to happen," more than once. Today, it stands as an example that transformations, even difficult ones, have a home in Niagara Falls.

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