Strategies for Reimagining the Former Rainbow Centre Mall and Downtown Niagara Falls
Downtown Niagara Falls
Upon completion of the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, over 200,000 square feet of unused interior space remain in the former Rainbow Centre Mall. The objective is to re-purpose this space for new uses, but it is critical to first assess and conceptualize what the best, most productive uses for the property could be.
Toward that end, USA Niagara obtained advisory services from the Urban Land Institute (“ULI”), a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit research and education organization specializing in urban real estate development issues. Founded in 1936, ULI is composed of more than 38,000 members, representing the entire spectrum of the land use and development disciplines, including architects, planners, real estate brokers, builders, attorneys, and engineers.
The effort was led by a ULI-assembled advisory panel, composed of eight highly-qualified professionals who volunteered their time to ULI. ULI panel of members visited the property for a week in September 2012, studied the downtown area, consulted with public and private officials and later presented USAN with a written summary of its conclusions and recommendations.
Summary of Recommendations
The panel focused on several physical, institutional, and organization improvements that can help USAN and the city move forward with a redevelopment strategy for the Rainbow Centre Mall. These recommendations include the following:
■ Redeveloping and retenanting the mall, using one or a combination of three design scenarios outlined in this report;
■ Understanding and matching the current market potential and psychographic profile of the Niagara Falls area (including Canada) for the repurposed space;
■ Initiating redevelopment and retenanting for key locations around the mall site on Old Falls Street;
■ Improving coordination among state and local agencies;
■ Undertaking short-term actions, such as improved facades, better wayfinding, recladding of the parking ramp, enforcement of signage controls, and establishment of an ambassador program; and
■ Implementing a request for qualifications (RFQ) process.
Please see the link below for the full report.