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Buffalo Waterfront & Niagara Region is on a Rapid Rise

timhortons.jpgTourism in the Buffalo Niagara region is on a rapid rise.  What’s going on in our city is the proof.  Locals are excited to be Buffalonian’s for the first time in decades.  The vibe is shifting from negative to positive.  We are finally transforming into the Waterfront city that we all dreamed of but never thought would be a reality. 

I don't think anyone can pinpoint one specific thing/person that started the shift, but the Harbor Center project has definitely contributed. We have been following the progress of the facility brick by brick and it will be open to the public in its entirety by May 2015.  The grand opening of the Harbor Center’s 2 NHL sized hockey rinks stacked on top of one another and a one-of-a-kind Timmy Ho’s was this week. They did not spare any details and their Tim Hortons is no exception paying tribute to the once Buffalo Sabre’s home and Memorial Auditorium with story displays throughout the coffee shop. The (716) Food & Sport restaurant, opening November 7th, is 13,000 sq. ft. and houses a 38ft. wide screen visible from 2 floors creating a unique viewing experience for all sports fans. 135 bar stools will surround the “ice” bar top that replicates the ice in a hockey rink. The menu lives up the “716” name offering all the Buffalo classics like wings, stuffed banana peppers, & beef on weck.  That’s not all ... the center has a training-fitness center and a 205-room Marriott Hotel. This place sounds so cool we can barely wait to see it!

The Hamister Group recognized the opportunity in tourism and purchased the historic Tishman building, former home of National Fuel Gas in Lafayette Square in 2012.  They transformed the building into a 124-room Hilton Garden Inn that debuted last week with a ground floor bar, a second floor restaurant, eighteen market rate apartments and 18,000 square feet of office space.  ‘Visit Buffalo Niagara’ just relocated their offices after 17 years to Main Street across the street from the Hilton.  The 500 block of Main Street is making a comeback in a big way.  Restaurants, café's and many other things are planned for the Main Street strip that has had vacant storefronts for years.

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The change spans further than the city of Buffalo and the residents of Niagara Falls are seeing some of the pieces come together.  Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls USA just completed a $71 million expansion (50 store fronts) making it one the largest outlets in the country.  They have already rented several of the fronts to retailers like Swarovski, Forever 21, and The Disney Store.  Just in time for holiday season!  The Aquarium of Niagara is waiting for approval for a new exhibit for their colony of Humboldt Penguins. The state of the art exhibit will enable their staff to engage visitors of all ages with exciting new programming and interactive features exceeding industry standards.

There is so much to look forward to and this brings hope for a bright future for our kids and grandkids.  When local leaders and residents come together, it makes the world of difference!  We are excited to see what else is in store for us.  Cheers to a bright future Buffalo!

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