Niagara Gazette — The company has had a presence in downtown Niagara Falls since the late 1990s.
In the years since, Niagara Falls Redevelopment and its various affiliates have purchased more than 400 parcels downtown in an area originally outlined under a 1997 redevelopment agreement with the city.
Today, NFR — a company owned by real estate developer and New York State Power Authority Chairman Howard Milstein — remains a prominent player in the downtown landscape. Some in the community have suggested the company should have done more with its holdings by now.
Dozens of candidates — from those seeking city council seats to those running for higher elected offices — have been asked throughout the years for their thoughts on NFR and its future in Niagara Falls.
This year, four candidates seeking to represent the city in the state Assembly and Senate were asked the same thing: If elected, what would you do to encourage one of the community's largest private land owners to develop its large tract of largely vacant property?
Two incumbents — 62nd District state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, and 138th District Assemblyman John Ceretto — remain optimistic about NFR's plans moving forward.
Ceretto said he met with NFR's Executive Vice President Roger Trevino shortly after his 2010 election and expects big things from the company in the future. He believes NFR will be able to do more once the issues surrounding the Seneca Nation's gaming revenue squabble with the state has been resolved. He also said he doesn't believe inaction on the company's land is bad for the community at this time because NFR is paying its taxes and maintaining its properties.
"When that's resolved, we'll see things move fast," Ceretto said, referring to the casino cash dispute. "All of the pieces are coming together. I believe this will be another asset to the Falls once it's moved on."