So, with apologies to Bob Dylan, maybe, just maybe, when it comes to development in the Niagara Region, the times really are a changin'.

One way to measure the change is the recent arrival of what local economic development officials call "the Buffalo guys."

I know, natives of the Falls may recoil at that, but the truth is the Cataract City has lagged horribly behind the renaissance taking place 23 miles to the south. And that renaissance has been led by a group fo local developers like Savarino Companies, TM Montante, LP Ciminelli, Rocco Termini's Signature Development Buffalo, Carl Paladino's Ellicott Development and others. 

Those guys have the means. the wherewithal and the experience to get projects off the ground and get them built. It's something we've seen precious little of from the usual suspects in the Falls.

For far too long what has passed for development here has been squatters. Investors who buy properties and watch them rot while they wait for a giant corporation like the Disney Company to sweep-in and buy them out at inflated prices. 

While Buffalo-based developers like Blue Cardinal and TM Montante are showing up and rehabbing, restoring and putting properties back on the tax rolls, those who have alleged themselves to be developers here have been busy tearing down historic and architecturally significant structures to lower their tax bills or implausibly suing the city to have million dollar properties declared worthless.

Talking with "the Buffalo guys", I'm hearing that they're taking notice of the opportunities here. Montante's Chris Campos told me recently he sees some of the signs here that he saw in Buffalo a decade ago.

That's really good news. 

We'll see if projects like 616 Niagara Street or the Blue Cardinal takeover of most of Main Street are the the projects that finally ignite a new era here. But the the prospects are promising. 


Rick Pfeiffer is a reporter for the Niagara Gazette.

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