County officials ready to take next step on future convention center

Last day for public comment on study is Wednesday

Mike Baggerman
December 19, 2018 - 3:00 am
Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. September 20, 2018.jpg

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – Plans for a new convention center in Buffalo will take its next step after Wednesday.

Wednesday is the end of the public comment period on the study, which found in September that the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center is not to par with the other convention centers in the industry. It also found that the current convention center on Franklin Street is “functionally obsolete” and does not have the capacity to attract event that would normally come to Buffalo.

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The two options for a future convention center include upgrades to the current one or the construction of a new one closer to the arena at the HSBC lot.

“We’ll be looking at the final results and discussing with our partners what we think is the best option going forward,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said this week. “There’s more analysis that needs to be done at the two locations that we’ve viewed. It’s fair to say the vast majority of the comments we’ve received so far say we need to stay in the convention and visitors business.”

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Poloncarz said that that the estimates for support of having a convention center in Buffalo is nearly eight times that of comments submitted which say otherwise. However, prospects of where the convention center should be is the more intense debate.

“I definitely see the pros and cons of both of the sites,” Visit Buffalo Niagara President Patrick Kaler told WBEN. “I think it’s premature to pick one of the sites because there is still more information that needs to be gathered and more studies that need to be done on the feasibility of both sites. For instance the Delaware site, there’s a lot of land procurement that would need to take place. Down at the HSBC, you could dig and hit the water tables.”

Cost estimates for the convention center range from $263 million to $343 million.

Poloncarz said he has no preference for a site but noted that county officials and stakeholders will meet at a later time to come to a consensus.

You can view the study and leave a comment for the county by clicking here

 

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