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Halovet Aug 31, 2006 9:06 PM

BUFFALO | Development Thread
There is more Warterfront talk going on!

From Buffalo Rising:

Why Senator Schumer's Waterfront Proposal Is Correct

by Steve Siegel
Editor's Note: The image used for this post is an alternative plan recently presented by Citizen's Vision for the Lakefront. The group spoke at the BOHW Waterfront Discussion this past saturday. The image is being shown here merely to point out that various groups have different ideas as to how our waterfront should function. This proposal's #1 concern was keeping waterfront land open to the public. It is an image that until Saturday we had never seen. The above proposal is NOT Senator Schumer's waterfront proposal.

The current jousting between the city and the anointed developers of the harbor project is rather frustrating to the many that were energized by the possibility that this project would proceed. But, in retrospect, the current impasse is wholly predictable.

Recent posts and comments have provided some great perspective on the hows and whys of the current situation - and even provided ideas on how to proceed from here. What needs to be discussed is why, from a more holistic perspective, all these large, complex development projects almost always follow the same pattern of: “yes…finally .. thank god, it’s going to happen……oh s@#*, screwed again!

Think of the great looking male “Cade” in high school who dates the rather ordinary looking girl who he knows is lacking in self confidence. About halfway through the date he demands that they take a little drive over to lovers’ lane. The girl, though rather plain looking, is nobody’s fool and declines. The Cade responds that she is lucky to have a suitor the likes of him and that she will never do any better.

The city is the rather plain looking girl and the suitor is Uniland, or Bass Pro, or the Seneca Nation – take your pick.

My point is that from a strategic business point of view, cities that consistently pull off development projects that, to the frustrated residents in the city of Buffalo appear to be development miracles, are always cities that recognize that they need to find developers who need to accomplish the project more than the city needs the project accomplished. In other words the city holds the upper hand and the developer is either an equal partner or the equivalent of an economic “lapdog” that must do as the city demands because this project is a “silver bullet” project to the developer, but merely one more in a series of small, but important projects to the city. Why can Bass Pro, the Seneca Nation and Uniland attempt to continually dictate new terms to the city? It’s because if they don’t get their way, they can walk away and develop elsewhere and probably get a better return on the investment, with less risk.

The cities inability to recognize this reality and find development partners that the city possesses strategic advantages over, is one big reason why we see this same pattern repeating itself over and over again.

I presume that Senator Schumer’s proposal to subdivide the project into many smaller projects is at least in part based upon his acceptance of these realities. It is also why the city should use this impasse as an opportunity to walk away from the deal – this is only the first of many new demands that the developers will make upon the city.

Schumer’s proposal makes sense, and in my mind is the only strategically viable way to proceed at this point.

westcoastperspective Sep 1, 2006 1:03 AM

Back from Buffalo with a slew of new pics to share over the next few weeks. Here is the progress on New Era HQ's:


Middle of last week:

Saturday, from Belesario. Steel for atrium/entry started:

BuffaloBill Sep 1, 2006 1:52 AM

Any waterfront project needs the removal of the Skyway. That monstrosity needs to go like H-O.


steel Sep 1, 2006 3:07 AM

wouldn't buffalo development news be a better title? This one reminds me of Bush saying "internets"

westcoastperspective Sep 1, 2006 3:54 AM

Granite Works- a block of historic buildings almost demolished, now 29 lofts- as of Sunday, there was only one unleased.

View from the outdoor deck on the roof of the granite building- accessible by two of the units:

Rocco's new Ellicott Commons complex, which will have 30 units including four leasing for $3000/month that will have rooftop patios (three of the four are pre-leased):

Halovet Sep 1, 2006 10:36 AM

Westcoastperspective, thanks for those great pictures. I have not been to B-lo for a while, and those give me sense of what's really going on. Man, is it exciting!:apple: BuffaloBill, Sooner or later, someone at some point, is going to start removing The Skyway. I don't think I will live to see it though. Steel, yes, buffalo development news would have been a better title. Can't please everybody. OH WELL.:2cents:

BuffaloBill Sep 1, 2006 1:05 PM

Higgins has tried to secure funding for the removal of the Skyway. I hope he keeps pressing the issue.

Interesting view from the roof of the Granite Works. I see some buildings there that do not look very familiar.

Halovet Sep 1, 2006 6:23 PM

New Era is going to be Fabulous. I wonder if there will be a place to buy caps or just offices?

westcoastperspective Sep 2, 2006 12:59 AM

There's supposed to be a store/museum in the New Era bldg.

westcoastperspective Sep 3, 2006 12:25 PM

Bass Pro wants to tear down the Aud...
Wonder if some in the preservation community are going to object. They should at least save the facade facing the I-190 (Exchange Street?). Get it started already!

westcoastperspective Sep 3, 2006 4:29 PM

Does anyone have the early rendering of the exterior of the Aud when Bass Pro was proposing a renovation? Rue?

I believe there is a photo with Pataki or Masiello standing in front of a rendering that was up at a press conference.

Rue B Sep 3, 2006 10:12 PM


Originally Posted by westcoastperspective
Does anyone have the early rendering of the exterior of the Aud when Bass Pro was proposing a renovation? Rue?

I believe there is a photo with Pataki or Masiello standing in front of a rendering that was up at a press conference.

Here a cross section image that was on the Bass Pro website. They never released an rendering of what the outside of the store would look like

westcoastperspective Sep 4, 2006 12:04 AM

HealthNow pics:

steel Sep 4, 2006 3:50 AM

pretty much beyond bland

Halovet Sep 5, 2006 3:49 AM


Originally Posted by steel
pretty much beyond bland

It looks like every hospital expantion I ever saw. Three points:

A. It's not an expantion, but the real deal, which brings us back to "bland".

B. Putting this project right in the middle of downtown just sucks.:yuck:

C. What's with that Gotdam Gray Wall? I know it's old, but WTF?

chevy064 Sep 5, 2006 12:42 PM

Yeah - but it is better than what USED to be there...........



Wigs Sep 5, 2006 8:27 PM

^I agree... at the very least give them props for cleaning up a hazardous site, and bringing 1300 workers into the CBD.
it may be bland, but I do like the glass wall facing the 190, and it might be good for helping to change people's perceptions of Buffalo. a huge new building = good things are happening.

westcoastperspective Sep 5, 2006 8:30 PM

Dulski bidding continues- two serious bidders going head-to-head. Mr. Alphabet in the lead (again):

Bid Date/Time

September 5, 2006 14:46:09

September 5, 2006 9:47:30

September 5, 2006 8:25:56

September 1, 2006 13:51:54


More HealthNow pics on Buffalo Rising/City

Halovet Sep 5, 2006 9:27 PM


Originally Posted by chevy064
Yeah - but it is better than what USED to be there...........



I guess. Still, It looks like any average city's expanion and this is supposed to be a HQ. :shrug: May as well be the South Bend Memorial expantion. A nice project, but hardly worthy of downtown development in a mid to large city.

Halovet Sep 6, 2006 5:19 PM

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

And now the fun part - building Wright's boathouse

Work to begin this month

News Staff Reporter

Bill Wippert/Buffalo News
Bill Maggio, left, and Ted Marks stand along the shore of the Black Rock Channel near the West Side Rowing Club, where a new boathouse designed by Frank Lloyd Wright will be built.

Now for the easy part - actually building Frank Lloyd Wright's boathouse.
A few months behind schedule and $500,000 or so short of its fundraising goal, the nonprofit corporation pushing the revival of Wright's 101-year-old plan for a rowing clubhouse will break ground today on the Black Rock Channel near the West Side Rowing Club.

Serious construction will begin this month, with completion set for next summer.

The $5.4 million facility will serve both as an attraction on Buffalo's "Wright stuff" architectural tourism trail and a functioning boathouse equipped and operated by the rowing club.

Membership in the West Side club, already one of the nation's largest - if not the largest - is expected to rise substantially from the present figure of more than 600, said President William J. Maggio.

Most new members will be students from area schools who have not been exposed to the club's popular rowing programs or else have been unable to sign up because the present clubhouse adjacent to the Wright site is running at capacity.

The club has made a strong commitment to involve Buffalo public high school students, Maggio said. They and others whose schools are not affiliated with the club will be invited to enroll in West Side's high school program, which has 570 members and for years has "had a significant impact on the youth of Western New York," he said.

Designed by Wright for the University of Wisconsin in 1905, the boathouse, will be a 4,500-square-foot pressed-concrete structure with storage bays for racing shells at ground level. A clubhouse adorned with art glass windows will occupy the upper floor.

The groundbreaking follows a series of complicated land deals to secure the site, a five-year fundraising campaign backed by television producer Tom Fontana that drew contributions from many film and TV stars, and the receipt of a $1 million state grant.

"It has been a monumental task to get this far," said Theodore E. Marks, president of the Wright boathouse organization. He is confident the fund drive will reach its goal before the facility opens. Individual West Side Rowing Club members have given generously to the project, Maggio added.

Lehigh Construction Group of Orchard Park will be the general contractor.


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