What could a restaurant or permanent catering service mean to the future of the Central Terminal?
"It is critical to the life blood of the building," said Paul Lang, Central Terminal Restoration Corp. vice chairman. "Getting a restaurateur or caterer would be a huge vote of confidence in the building, I can't over state the importance of this next phase."
The non-profit CTRC has taken the first step to bringing in a food establishment to be based out of the soon-to-be-restored restaurant space along the terminal's main concourse.
Using a $5 million Empire State Development grant, the CTRC wants to see work begin this fall on restaurant, concourse and bathroom renovations. CJS Architects has been retained as the project's lead architect.
Lang said an RFQ (request for qualifications) is to be issued sometime in next year's first quarter and hopefully have a designated food operator by late spring.
Reactivating the restaurant was one of several recommendations made during a 2017 Urban Land Institute study of the East Side architectural icon and landmark.
Currently, the Art Deco-styled terminal that opened in 1929 and closed 50 years later is booked for about 30 events each year, usually from April to October because of the building's lack of heat.
Lang said the CTRC would love to see the restaurant open on a daily basis, something that could help bring more people into the terminal complex and, perhaps, pique the interest from the development community.
"I really do believe the Central Terminal could have life beyond just being an occasional event center," Lang said. "I'd prefer it to be a restaurant, but you also have to be a bit realistic."
By James Fink – Reporter, Buffalo Business First