The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. (ECHDC) and the city of Buffalo submitted the joint proposal before the 4 p.m. Monday deadline, the agency said.
The property includes 400 acres of waterfront property, including the Seaway Pier and the outer harbor vacant land, the Port Terminal Complex (commonly known as 901 Fuhrmann Boulevard), the NFTA Boat Harbor, and Gallagher Beach property.
The joint proposal from the ECHDC and the city of Buffalo is encouraging, Howard Zemsky, NFTA chairman, said in a late afternoon statement.
"It's a significant first step. Our Board of Commissioners is looking forward to further review and negotiation to hopefully conclude a transaction in a timely manner," Zemsky said in the statement.
Speaking at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport earlier Monday, Congressman Brian Higgins again urged the NFTA to transfer the parcel to the ECHDC -- another government agency -- for a nominal fee.
The Democrat Higgins called the upcoming transfer of the Outer Harbor property "a turning point."
"It's very very important that this land go to the Erie Canal Harbor Deveopment Corporation, which has a singular focus on waterfront development and has resources to develop it," Higgins said.
On Dec. 27, 1957, the city of Buffalo transferred all of the current NFTA Outer Harbor land to the Niagara Frontier Port Authority (NFPA), which was later incorporated into the NFTA, in two separate transactions for $1 each. Because waterfront development has never been core to the NFTA's mission, the property has received little to no attention or improvements, according to the Higgins' office.
It also says the lawmaker has been leading the fight for the NFTA to turn over this property since 2002.
"The NFTA has not done the work, according to their own report. They estimate that over 30 million dollars in improvements are needed out there, so they shouldn't be paid anything for this land," Higgins said.
At the same time, the NFTA has said it spent several million on the property, but has never insisted on fully recovering the costs involved.