Sometime in the fall of next year, after historically aligned canals have been unveiled at Canalside on the former Memorial Auditorium site, a new restaurant will open.
It will be a full-scale restaurant facing the Buffalo River with glass roll-up doors providing shelter and food for visitors.
The restaurant is expected to be used for two years before being moved to the outer harbor, at which time a permanent restaurant would be built at the Aud site, according to Tom Dee, president of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.
“We have talked to restaurateurs in town, and they’re all excited about it. “They will get a lease, and then in the process, we’ll be building a bricks and mortar restaurant.”
He said he expects the site to be 5,000 square feet and could include some room for programming inside. A wine garden and food kiosks are also under consideration.
Buildings to house a public market and the Explore & More children’s museum also remain in the plans for the Aud block for 2016 or 2017.
The restaurant is one of several projects in Canalside that are planned or under way, including a decision last week to illuminate a grain elevator with kinetic lighting year-round across from the Central Wharf as part of a larger vision for 14 grain elevators along the river.
In the past few weeks, crews have begun work on the East Canal park project, which is just south of the old Donovan State Office Building and across the Metro Rail tracks from the Aud site.
The East Canal park will be an outdoor public space featuring fountains, seating and a tree grove.
The parcel will be filled “with fun things to do,” according to the Harbor Development Corp.
“I think it will be a cool, hip place where you will want to get your coffee and read the paper,” Dee said previously.
The $5 million park is scheduled to open with the new Donovan Building early next year, according to the development corporation.
A water feature on the parcel will be made to look as if it is an extension of the canal to the west, on the former Aud block property, and will include a canal pool and arched fountains.
“We have so much going on it’s almost mind-numbing,” Dee said. “As a staff, for the last three years behind the scenes it’s been plan, plan, plan, and now everything is coming to fruition. It’s exactly perfect.”