Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Higgins says NFTA outer harbor land should be sold for $2

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Buffalo: Higgins says NFTA outer harbor land should be sold for $2
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BUFFALO -- 384 acres of land along Buffalo's outer harbor is up for sale by the NFTA. The price? Congressman Brian Higgins says $2.

"The NFTA paid $2 for it and therefore should sell it for $2," Rep. Higgins said.

Congressman Higgins said that's how much the then Niagara Frontier Port Authority, now the NFTA, paid the City of Buffalo back in 1957 to acquire the land that is now home to the NFTA Small Boat Harbor, Dug's Dive restaurant and not much else.

Higgins said, "Three of the four buildings on the NFTA property are vacant and there's no plans to do anything with them."

Congressman Higgins said the land is only worth that much because whoever ends up buying it will have to pay an estimated $30-million to fix it up.

"Any money that they would have to pay for that property would result in not being able to do the public access improvements that are necessary there," said Higgins.

The City of Buffalo and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation have expressed interest in buying and developing the land. Higgins wants the Harbor Development Corporation to take over the land because they've been so successful transforming Canalside on Buffalo's inner harbor, where more than one-million people are expected to visit next year.

N-F-T-A Chairman Howard Zemsky issued a statement Monday saying in part, "A fuller understanding of the NFTA costs would have to include approximately $2 million in acquisition cost, and an additional $3 million in NFTA investment over the past five years....Additionally, since acquiring the Boat Harbor property, the NFTA has invested approximately $7 million in infrastructure and improvement. The NFTA has never insisted on recovering our full investment costs."

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