Project to Bring Retailing Back to Downtown Niagara Falls, NY

A Boise, Idaho-based developer is hoping to bring a European-style market to downtown Niagara Falls, New York, at least for the holiday season. 

‘Niagara Holiday Market’ will be a European-style, outdoor/indoor holiday themed market featuring world-class offerings of regional, national and international goods, foods and entertainment.  The Market would be located along historic Falls Street, running from 3rd Street to Niagara Falls State Park in a mix of indoor and outdoor venues.  It would debut November 26 and run through January 1, 2012. 

This won’t be a Christmas craft bazaar.  Brix and Company is expected to bring in a number of internationally-known retailers to set up ‘pop-up stores’ for the holiday shopping season.  It would positioned as an international attraction that captures the winter spirit and beauty of Niagara Falls, drawing from across Western New York and Southern Ontario.

holiday market.pngThe Market will be a $1 million private-public partnership between Brix and Company, City of Niagara Falls ($225,000), USA Niagara Development Corporation ($225,000) and Global Spectrum, manager of NF Convention Center ($15,000 ).  The Niagara Falls City Council will consider the City’s contribution to the project on Monday.

Mark Rivers, president and CEO of Brix, is a native of Ellicottville and continues to own a residence in Ellicottville.  Rivers has a deep and broad background in retail development and private-public development.  He also has an extensive resume.

Mark Rivers is the President and Chief Executive Officer of one of the United States’ most active boutique real estate development companies and, a noted community redevelopment leader.  Brix has an award-winning national reputation in public-private development and unique marketing and event services.

Rivers was the developer of the award-winning BoDo project in downtown Boise from 2002 to 2007, which transformed a declining warehouse district and brownfield site into a vibrant urban neighborhood.  The $60 million project, in partnership with Merrill Lynch Capital, included the rehabilitation of historic-era buildings and the new construction of retail, office, cinema, hotel and parking facilities.  The project included six national retailers who opened their first-and-only Idaho outlets, which sparked a downtown retail boom in Boise.  Today, BoDo is a hub of consumerism, commerce and community in the heart of Idaho’s capital city.  For his efforts, Mark was named the 2006 “Visionary of the Year” by the Idaho Statesman newspaper.  In 2009, Rivers and BoDo were given the “Best Redevelopment and Reuse” Award by the International Economic Development Council, the leading global organization of economic development professionals.

Recently, Rivers has become one of Idaho’s most active voices and action leaders in the area of economic and community development.  In 2008, Rivers developed, personally-funded and opened the “WaterCooler” in downtown Boise, the city’s first-ever small business incubator.  The facility houses emerging small businesses and, features a myriad of educational, training and artistic events.  In its first year of operations, the WaterCooler has helped to accelerate six different growth companies and, has seen those companies exponentially grow their investments, number of employees and revenues.  In 2009, Mark was named “Idaho Innovator of the Year” by the Stoel Rives Idaho Innovation Awards. 

In 2009, Rivers created the Curb Cup, a spectacular street festival throughout downtown Boise that features hundreds of performers and thousands of spectators who watch and vote for their favorite artists, who compete for prizes.  In just two years, it has been called “Boise’s signature event,” attracting 26,000 spectators to its 2010 edition.

westgatge.pngIn real estate, Rivers is a development partner at Westgate City Center in Glendale, Arizona.  The nearly $2 billion, 230-acre master-planned urban environment  is the home to the University of Phoenix National Football League stadium, the Jobing.com National Hockey League arena and, a host of retail, office, hotel, residential and conference facilities.  The complex hosted the 2008 NFL Super Bowl. 

Brix has also provided corporate real estate services to blue-chip development and investment interests around the country, including Harrod’s Department Store, Vornado Realty Trust, Merchandise Mart Properties, Credit Suisse Bank, Clear Channel Outdoor, Simon Equity Group, ESPN and the San Diego Padres. 

In 2010, Mark founded the Boise Sports Council, an organization that he currently co-chairs with Olympic gold medal cyclist Kristin Armstrong.  This organization is the state’s leading advocacy group for the expansion of the sports and recreation industry in Idaho, through new investment, world-class events and, sports entrepreneurs.

sonomamarkethall.pngCurrently, Brix is developing the Sonoma County MarketHall in Santa Rosa, California at the county’s fairgrounds.  The project will create one of California’s largest permanent, year-round marketplaces for fresh produce, artisan foods, unique dining, retail and an animated, family-friendly destination that celebrates the region’s legacy of agriculture, wine and craftsmanship.

Headquartered in Boise, Brix has offices in San Francisco; Cleveland; and, Washington, DC.  The company plans to soon open a local office.

Prior to forming his own company in 2002, Rivers was the Chief Strategic Officer of The Mills Corporation, a $3-billion New York Stock Exchange shopping center developer.  He is a former executive and officer of DeBartolo Realty/Entertainment (the DeBartolo family owns the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL) and Mirage Resorts, the Las Vegas-based hospitality giant controlled by Steve Wynn.

Get Connected: Brix and Company, 208.368.0000

Entry image by RaChaCha

About the author  ⁄ Thomas_Dooney

14 comments
TylerNF
TylerNF

I believe that this is the same developer that controlls the vending on Old Falls Street during the summer months and also manages the convention center. I encourage the City of Niagara Falls to be very careful in allowing a single developer to control so much of the street vending in such a small area. There were a number of complaints over the summer.

Max
Max

Good news for NF, a place too long left to the forces of incompetence, rot and decay. There's communities all over the country that would sell their souls to have its natural assets. I guess it all stems from negative self-esteem from being known as "America's back door." Hopefully that will change.

longgone
longgone

While the 'leadership' in the falls is poor, I think the reason why an Olive Garden type place is not there is due to the lack of an overall plan.

What Downtown NF needs is something similar to the Chip Strip back in the early 90s. The reason I think NF is not the destination it used to be is due to the idea of 'entertainment' is not what it used to be. Point being...sin sells.

If you look at 3rd Street, between Ferry Ave and Niagara St, that block is a perfect place for a 'hip strip' if you will.

Not to knock the businesses that are already there but this block is home to some very cool buildings. By the looks of Google Maps, a lot or boarded up. It also looks like the sidewalks and landscaping are new. So some money was put into this area recently.

Whirlpool 138
Whirlpool 138

I really hope this happens, I think the area is very slowly building a little momentum . As much as I loved the old Wintergarden (too bad they couldn't move it), tearing it down and opening up the street was a good idea. It's really cool how at each end of the street street you have either the Seneca Hotel or the Skylon tower anchoring it. It gives you a nice view when your walking to or from the park. The concerts they held this past summer were a lot of fun and attracted a ton of people watching or moving around the area. They really need to capitalize on the empty buildings along the street. This could be a cool little public area like Times Square or Dundas Square in Toronto.

This hasn't finalized right? I haven't read anything in the Niagara Falls Gazette or Reporter yet. Anyone know anything?

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

While this won't be a "silver bullet" -- and as a holiday initiative is clearly not intended as such -- it's a great way to leverage the investment in Old Falls Street, and build on the announcement of the NCCC culinary institute which will be established nearby.

All those looking at "lighter, quicker, cheaper" ways to attract folks to Buffalo's waterfront should take a good look at this.

And about that: is it fair to wonder how much further ahead we'd be on the waterfront, if the ECHDC club had focused on pursuing and cultivating ties with someone like Mark Rivers, rather than Johnny Morris (of Bass Pro)--?

BTW, I LOVE that entry image photo of Old Falls Street -- who took that ;-)

RumRunner
RumRunner

This would be a great way to pump some life back into whats left of Niagara Falls' downtown. Anything would be better than whats (not) there now.

Chris
Chris

The fact that downtown niagara falls can not attract one olive garden type restaurant just shows you that something is wrong and someone is behind the scenes shutting it down.

It is disgusting the way that people hang on to the scraps that once were to the detriment of the entire city.

buffaloroamer
buffaloroamer

Seems like this guy has a pretty impressive track record. Bring him here for downtown falls, downtown Buffalo and the waterfront. And get the current slackers running this city out. If Boise, Idaho can have a huge attraction that attracts that many visitors, should be a piece of cake for us. Again, nothing will be a silver bullet, but any shot at success would be nice and welcomed.

irishmedic716
irishmedic716

As anyone else, I am highly skeptical anything will occur from this. The City of Niagara Falls, for lack of a better term, looks like the outskirts of Baghdad. The destruction incurred by the hands of the chemical companies, the Mob, urban renewal, has left that city a ghost town.

My wife and I took our kids a few weeks ago up to the "Aquarium", good time but just not enough. That place is just crumbling away too.

Whirlpool Street is pockmarked with craters, closed off past the Aquarium.

The amount of vacancies is embarassing, and the only resturants are Indian ones.

The streets are bare, and even going to Terrapin Point, was just a joke. I truly felt bad for the German tourists that were next to us. My wife and I, when asked what can they do here, we just replied, "Ontario".

Mike Duff
Mike Duff

We've been through this before. Please don't hold your breath on this being the silver bullet for the falls. Wait until the public unions demand their cut on jobs and kick backs. Corruption is still alive and well in Niagara Falls. This is why Niagara Falls has gone from being one of the seven wonder of the world to the armpit of America.

mpat
mpat

seriously....Buffalo does the same thing...Toronto Developers gave up on Buffalo at least 20 years ago due to the cities ignorance and refusal to believe that anything proposed could benefit the city (oh...and make a profit for the investor also)...it's about time that a large broom get these idiots out of power and let commerce bring these cities back to life. Look at Toronto's growth along the water front..Buffalo could have it also, if we didn't have such naive, ignorant small town thinking opposed to anything they didn't think of people in power here...it's to the point of being a national example of idiots in power and rufusing just about anything that comes along...go Bass Pro...how many people stayed in power as long as they did because of that BS fiasco?

JM
JM

The first sentence had me thinking the worst but the rest is pretty impressive.

mpat
mpat

ok...this is cool and very long over due....watch what haapens though at a city and county level, when they (with flair and ignorance and no regard for anything new to the city)either give them such a hard time...or just shoot it down as usual....I give it a 10% chance of even happening....go NF go to your speedy recovery for decades of coruption, payoffs and ignorance

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