Originally published by The Niagara Gazette on December 20, 2018
Construction has started on a multi-million-dollar mixed-use development project located at the corner of Seventh and Niagara streets in Niagara Falls.
The project developer, TM Montante Development, announced Wednesday that it has started a $5 million effort to turn the buildings at the corner – collectively known as 616 Niagara – into a new home for the Niagara Global Tourism Institute as well as new commercial space and a corner cafe on the ground floor. The development project also calls for 17 market rate residential units to be made available on the upper floors of the building.
“The 616 Niagara project will represent the rebirth of three beautiful historic buildings at the corner of Seventh and Niagara streets, and ensure that they have new life for generations to come,” said Chris Campos, president, TM Montante Development. “Vacant structures will become vibrant again, housing new residents and workers that will call downtown Niagara Falls their home and their place of work. And the connection point between John Daly Boulevard and Niagara Street, a gateway to downtown Niagara Falls, will be reinvigorated, extending the energy that has been building on Third Street eastwards all the way to Seventh Street.”
616 Niagara will be anchored by the Niagara Global Tourism Institute, an affiliate of Niagara University, which will relocate its headquarters to the ground floor commercial space and open TReC, the first co-working and incubator facility in Niagara Falls.
“TReC by NGTI serves as a prime example of Niagara University’s commitment to economic and social progress in Niagara Falls. But NU will benefit as well through experiential learning opportunities at a new ‘second home’ in the developing downtown corridor. Students will have access to real-world career experiences, while faculty can take advantage of a dynamic classroom,” said NGTI Executive Director Patrick Whelan. “TReC will also serve as a link between the local community and entrepreneurial opportunities in Niagara Falls.”
The project is being supported by a $750,000 grant from the WNY Regional Economic Development Capital Fund as well as a $100,000 grant from National Grid’s Main Street Revitalization Program. The Niagara Global Tourism Institute also received a $176,000 grant from the Niagara Falls Tourism Target Zone Program, which is administered through the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.
“I am very pleased for work to commence at 616 Niagara Street. This project has the potential to serve as a catalyst for innovation and downtown living in Niagara Falls,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster. “616 Niagara Street will not only serve as home to 17 new, market-rate apartments, it will also house Niagara University’s Global Tourism Institute and business incubator, TReC. The synergy of new first-class residential options and the expansion of the innovation economy in our downtown is a tremendous win for our city.”