Peace Bridge Authority Unveils Expanded and Renovated
U.S. Customs Commercial Building
BUFFALO, NY/FORT ERIE, ON – Today the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority (Peace Bridge Authority) officially unveiled the newly expanded and renovated $24 million U.S. Customs Commercial Building facility.
“This project is an important component of the comprehensive effort being made in and around the U.S. plaza to improve the Peace Bridge crossing and ensure that it remains a top international travel and trade corridor for years to come,” said PBA Chairman Sam Hoyt. “The Peace Bridge Authority looks forward to the continued implementation of our capital infrastructure improvement plan, which is being undertaken to best serve the residents, travelers and businesses of Western New York, Southern Ontario and beyond.”
“Originally built 65 years ago, the U.S. Customs Commercial Building has been remodeled in bits and pieces over the years, but it lacked proper functionality until this renovation occurred,” said PBA General Manager Ron Rienas. “The new design increases building space and will greatly enhance overall operational and environmental efficiency.”
This is a key facility that handles administration of daily commercial operations at the Port of Buffalo. The facility houses tenants such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and commercial import/export customs brokers.
The expansion and renovation project included the construction of a 23,600 square foot addition on the southeast side of the building and a complete remodeling of the interior and exterior of the existing 43.500 office and dock spaces. This is one component of an overall $186 million, fully self-financed, five-year capital plan approved by the PBA.
“Completion of the Customs House represents the latest step in a multifaceted approach to improve efficiencies at our border,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “The new work space will allow for enhanced coordination, streamlining processing and safety measures.”
"Governor Cuomo has worked tirelessly to maintain strong ties with Canada, which is New York State’s largest global trading partner," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "As one of the busiest truck crossings on US-Canadian border, making this Peace Bridge facility more efficient is vital to further economic growth on both sides of the border.”
"Improving service and the flow of goods is vital to the economies of both the United States and Canada. I would like to congratulate the Peace Bridge Authority for making this important investment and on the completion of this vital project,” said Member of Parliament Rob Nicholson.
“Canada and the United States have a long-standing history of cooperation along our shared border, recognizing that we are each other’s closest ally and most important security and economic partner,” said Consul General John Prato. “Cooperation between Canada and the United States – to ensure a secure and efficient border – has been a longstanding and mutually beneficial partnership.”
“Buffalo’s relationship with Canada is an important part of our economy and the newly expanded and renovated $24 million U.S. Customs Commercial Building facility will bring improved border crossing efficiencies that will benefit us in so many ways,” said City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown. “As Buffalo’s significant economic revival continues, with over $5.5 billion in economic development activity underway which is expected to create over 12,000 new jobs, we must do everything we can to make sure we’re a welcoming and efficient city. With so many Canadians travelling to Buffalo for sporting events, shopping, theater and concerts, we are pleased this project is complete, adding momentum to the significant progress in Buffalo.”
“I applaud the Peace Bridge Authority and all the partners in government involved in this multi-million dollar improvement project for their exceptional leadership, teamwork, and their commitment to enhance cross-border opportunities,” said Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs. “The Peace Bridge and the newly renovated U.S. Customs building are critical in that effort and demonstrate the importance of a true bi-national economic regional partnership dedicated to strengthening the renaissance of Buffalo and the region.”
The building was designed by Wendel. LP Ciminelli was the project manager for this all union labor project.
To ensure that the building remained operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, construction occurred in four phases:
Phase I: The Addition, March 2014 – March 2015
Phase IA: The Dock: Part 1, December 2014 – May 2015
Phase II: The Annex, March 2015 – October 2015
Phase III: The Dock: Part 2, October 2015 – March 2016
About the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority
The Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, a binational bridge authority, has owned and operated the Peace Bridge since 1933. The bridge, which was opened to traffic in 1927, spans the Niagara River between Fort Erie, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York, and is a key international border crossing.