Urbacon, one of the premier developers of commercial and industrial properties in Canada and the northern United States, has teamed up with Niagara Falls Redevelopment (NFR) to announce a landmark partnership to develop the Niagara Digital Campus. This innovative, $1.48 billion technology and data hub will bring thousands of jobs and cutting-edge technological infrastructure to the City of Niagara Falls. Building on the unique strengths of the Niagara Falls area, the development will be energy efficient, low noise and blend seamlessly with the surrounding area.
Read the full press release here.
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misinformation spread over how this project came about. Here is the actual timeline (click links to documents, emails, news stories and other evidence):
In February 2021, at NFR’s suggestion, Urbacon began to focus on the Niagara Falls region for its new data center. Urbacon held its first calls and video meetings with the City of Niagara Falls’ economic development team in May/June 2021. NFR and Urbacon presented the plan to Mayor Restaino in September 2021.
In October 2021, the Mayor’s City Planning Department laid out a path to zoning approval for the parcel—without ever mentioning that it would like to use some of the land for a park (Read the full letter, here). Later that month, Mayor Restaino turned his back on the project and announced his own plan for the still unfunded “Centennial Park” on the same land.
On December 21, 2021, with no notice to or discussion with NFR, the City imposed a six-month (subsequently extended) “moratorium” on commercial data centers. A link to the resolution imposing the moratorium may be found here.
Weeks later, the Mayor announced to NFR for the first time that he intended to take their property by eminent domain if they did not agree to give it to him.
To repeat: It was only in early 2022 that the Mayor ever mentioned his intention to take the land by eminent domain.
More information on the latest status of the project can be found here.
Once all approvals are received, it is expected that Urbacon will be ready to begin construction on the campus within six months.