Erie County acquires 148 acres of industrial land at the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna for redevelopment

Modified: July 25, 2017 2:59pm

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" Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined today by representatives from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (“ECIDA”), the Empire State Development Corporation (“ESD”), the City of Lackawanna, and Tecumseh Redevelopment Inc. along with numerous other officials and agencies to announce Erie County’s acquisition of 148 acres of industrial land at the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna. The $5.5 million agreement, which closed this morning, transfers ownership of the parcel from Tecumseh to the ECIDA and is a critical part of the redevelopment of the historic site, which will include the relocation of on-site rail tracks, construction of a public road at Dona St. to open the land for redevelopment, installation of electric and water utilities, and much more.  

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In 2013, Erie County and the ECIDA completed Phase 1 of the Rail Relocation Project at the site, which entailed the installation of approximately 2 miles of rail track in the north-south direction on the site while removing rail tracks that had hindered access to the site. Phase 1 opened up approximately 300 acres of development-ready land.

Phase II of the Rail Relocation Project will remove approximately 13,000 line feet of rail track along Rte. 5, which will clear the way to create a new Dona St. extension into the parcel. Phase II will also include rehabilitation and enhancements to rail tracks elsewhere on site to make rail operations more efficient. Upon completion of the Rail Project, work will commence on the new public road and will include sewer construction, storm water systems, street lighting, and sidewalks.

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The redevelopment of the Bethlehem steel site was identified by County Executive Poloncarz in his Initiatives for a Smart Economy as a top priority for Erie County as well as the City of Lackawanna.

The site’s redevelopment also aligns Erie County efforts with the economic development strategies of the WNY Regional Economic Development Council.

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In addition, the property’s ongoing redevelopment prioritizes the continuation of the Shoreline Trail along Route 5 along with the design and construction of a Net Zero Energy (“NZE”) manufacturing building, which will rise on the site of today’s announcement. The building will feature over 80,000 feet of mixed-use manufacturing and commercial office space and will be powered by solar, geothermal and wind energy to produce as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. NZEs are the future of manufacturing and this building will place Erie County at the forefront of a growing movement, with a strategically-placed demonstration facility showcasing advances in renewable-energy construction.

Public access to the site will also be enhanced through the continuation of the Shoreline Trail project, which will eventually connect Buffalo’s Outer Harbor to Woodlawn Beach State Park in the Town of Hamburg. The existing Niagara Greenway Shoreline Trail will be extended approximately 7,000 feet from the Buffalo/Lackawanna municipal line to the Dona Street extension, which will provide safe pedestrian and bicycle access to Lackawanna and Buffalo residents to amenities on the Outer Harbor. Future phases will connect the Shoreline Trail to Woodlawn Beach.

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Clearing work at the site has already begun, with bids for the rail relocation, Dona Street construction, and Trail Project work expected to go out soon and the work to be completed in 2018. The NZE building is also targeted for completion in the fourth quarter of 2018."