If there was ever a year to re-discover Buffalo and its resurgence, it’s 2016.
Buffalo’s once-in-a-lifetime transformation continues this year, with a series of unprecedented milestones, openings, expansions and restorations. These new developments build off the momentum from the last couple of years that brought us HarborCenter, the Ice at Canalside, RiverWorks and a host of other new attractions, hotels, restaurants and breweries.
Take a look at all there is to look forward to in the coming year:
1. Martin House Restoration Milestone. Buffalo’s Frank Lloyd Wright designed treasures are turning into top attractions as the city and region reclaims its proud architectural legacy. This fall will mark a major milestone in the 15-year restoration of the Martin House Complex, one of the largest homes ever built by Wright. The restoration of the house’s first floor will be complete; visitors can experience it in its original grandeur for the first time in generations. Fall
2. Hotel Henry Completion. Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan and H.H. Richardson are considered the three great American architects who left their mark on Buffalo. Until recently, only Sullivan’s Guaranty Building and Wright’s Martin House and Graycliff Estate had seen new leases on life. Now, the Richardson Olmsted Complex will join them with the opening of the Hotel Henry, an 88-room urban resort and conference center within the iconic Buffalo structure that’s undergoing a multi-million dollar restoration. Fall
3. Buffalo Architecture Center Visitors will finally have a go-to spot that tells the story of the city’s world-renowned architecture. The Buffalo Architecture Center, within the Richardson Olmsted Complex, will honor that proud history through a series of permanent and traveling exhibits. Fall
4. Lighthouse Illumination One of the oldest structures in Buffalo, the Buffalo Lighthouse, recently had a new lens installed and will be illuminated nightly for the first time in decades starting in the spring. A twilight walk along the waterfront continues to become more impressive, with the illuminated 183-year-old lighthouse joining the lighting of the Connecting Terminal Grain Elevator as nightly draws. Spring
5. Curtiss Hotel Opening
When it’s completed this spring, the 68-room Curtiss Hotel will be the most “exclusive hotel in Western New York,” according to developer Mark Croce. Buffalo’s first hotel Roman hot springs, a revolving bar on the first floor, all-marble bathrooms with electronically controlled showers for volume and temperature and a fine dining restaurant will add more luxury to downtown’s hotel offerings than ever before. Spring
6. RiverWorks Brewery and Beer Garden – RiverWorks wowed visitors with the 2015 debut of a waterside bar and restaurant, roller derby track, concert venue and outdoor hockey and curling rinks. This year, the progress there continues when the grain elevator there (painted in a Labatt Blue advertisement to resemble the world’s largest six pack of beer) begins brewing its own RiverWorks craft beer, which will be pumped via an underground pipe to the adjacent restaurant. Grain silo ruins next door will house a one-of-a-kind beer garden. Late 2016
7. Swan Street Diner. The Zemsky family’s transformation of Larkinville continues in 2016 with the addition of the Swan Street Diner. The 79-year-old diner was originally outside of Rochester and is currently being restored in Akron, Ohio. When it arrives later this year, it will serve breakfast and lunch 7 days a week. Late 2016
8. Westin Hotel Opening – It’s exciting to see another major hotel brand choose Buffalo. The 117-room Westin Hotel adds another state-of-the-art offering to the central business district. It’s in a brand new building at the intersection of Delaware and Chippewa Streets.
9. Canalside Improvements
Each year, Buffalo’s waterfront district gets better, and 2016 is no exception. The Central Wharf boardwalk that runs along the Buffalo River will be extended by another 500 feet for next summer, a $2.2 million project. And when the Queen City Bike Ferry shuttles passengers across the Buffalo River starting in May, it will drop them off in a transformed landscape at the First Buffalo Marina on the Outer Harbor, with a new pathway, benches, signage, benches, planters and bicycle racks. Summer
10. Burchfield Penney Anniversary
The Burchfield Penney Art Center has played an integral role in Buffalo’s thriving art scene. The BPAC will celebrate its 50th anniversary this December; highlights include the opening of Blistering Vision: Charles Burchfield’s Sublime American Landscapes in July 2016 featuring more than 80 works by the museum’s namesake watercolorist.