Lack of Progress at Aud Site

7:13 PM, Jul 9, 2013   |    comments
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Buffalo, NY -- If you have enjoyed the events at Canalside this summer, you may have noticed the lack of progress at the former Aud site.

It's a project months behind schedule.

While change all around it is obvious, with construction crews working from dawn until dusk on the new HarborCenter, one Canalside project has stalled hitting legal road bumps.

"I think it's a shame. In 1825, when they originally built this canal, they got it done lickety-split, and here we are waiting on it again," says Bob Robertson.

"Very discouraging. It seems everything in Buffalo when they try and do something good to get Buffalo ahead, and make this a better city, it takes forever," says Pamela DiGesare.

These Buffalo area natives are talking about the lack of construction at the Aud Site. With an original completion date of October 2012, and beautiful artist renderings promising a full restoration of the canals with ice rinks and stores and restaurants, legal troubles now threaten to prolong delays.

2 On Your Side's Dave McKinley asked Robert Gioia with the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, the state agency in charge of the space, about the lack of progress two months ago.

"I suspect it's probably going to be pushed out to the spring or early summer of next year," said Gioia.

"That's longer than it took then to dig the first one isn't it?" asked McKinley.

"I wasn't here then. This is very complicated construction," replied Gioia.

And, now we know there are also legal complications between ECHDC and the contractor. The attorney representing DiPizio Construction Company told us Monday night that it would not be appropriate to comment on the Canal project while in the middle of a preliminary injunction hearing.

ECHDC also declined our requests for on-camera interviews saying even the attorneys representing the agency are not talking.

We spoke with Gioia, and he also declined an interview citing the litigation saying the courts will decide what happens.

We also reached out to Mayor Byron Brown's office, and we were told this is an ECHDC project.

So we know there are delays, we can see there are delays, we just do not know how long they will be since the project is now tied up in court.

According to a 2012 press release from the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, the next phase of this project includes opportunities for cultural organizations to become tenants of the former Aud Block.

Clearly now, the 25 groups that expressed interest have to wait as these legal battles play out.

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