Niagara Gazette — A pair of developers will compete for the opportunity to develop the former Rainbow Centre mall building.
The developers — Intertrust Development, Inc. and Uniland Development Company — were chosen from those that submitted applications as part of a request for qualifications process administered by USA Niagara Development Corp., Empire State Development’s local arm.
Chris Schoepflin, USA Niagara’s president, said the development of the former mall is complicated, both because of the amount space to be developed and significant changes that will be made to the building.
The state agency opted to use a two-step process for the space — with the request for qualifications to come before the request for proposals — to ensure that any companies submitting proposals would have the means and the expertise to execute their plans, he added.
“These two were chosen because they have an extraordinary track record of investment in urban cores,” Schoepflin said.
The announcement came during the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council’s monthly meeting held at the Conference and Events Center Niagara Falls, just a few hundred feet from the future development site, Tuesday afternoon.
Both developers have submitted preliminary plans for development of the 200,000-square-foot downtown space, but declined to go into detail as they will be competing with one another for the opportunity to pursue their respective projects.
The Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, which opened last fall after a $30 million development project that included state investment and oversight from USA Niagara, takes up about 90,000 square feet of the former mall on the building’s south end.
USA Niagara will choose a preferred developer for the space after the companies submit their applications. The winning company will likely be announced before the end of the year, Schoepflin said.
Intertrust Development, the U.S. arm of Canadian hotel company owned by the DiCienzo family, said its plans would involve themed franchise restaurants, retail space and a hotel, according to a press release from Empire State Development.