Canalside 2, Electric Boogaloo

4 Aug

In about an hour, the Buffalo Common Council will be meeting to discuss the latest Canalside emergency.  Evidently, the council needs to transfer city owned portions of the proposed Canalside district to the ECHDC immediately or HSBC Bank will consider a relocation outside of Buffalo.  WNYMedia will be covering the meeting live on Twitter with the #buffcouncil.  I’ll post a full summary of the meeting later and there will be coverage  tonight from our TV partner YNN and I’ll be live with Brad Riter on our radio partner WECK1230 after the Yankees game (5PM).

I’ll reserve comment on how ECHDC is now acting as if they were chartered like the ECIDA and instead focus on the possible outcomes.

1.)  Council agrees to the Mayor’s proposed Community Development Agreement (a “compromise” proposal as opposed to the Common Council proposed Community Benefits Agreement) and the land is transferred to ECHDC.  HSBC is then offered property (with incentives) to relocate 300 yards down the street to Canalside from One HSBC Center and Phillips Lytle will be given the Donovan Building.  This leaves the tallest building in Buffalo empty, perhaps forever.  After all, the building needs capital intensive updating and renovation, which will be hard to complete without tenants.  Also, how many companies in Buffalo can fill even half of the 38 floors and sprawling side buildings?  Ummm, HSBC, that’s about it.

2.)  HSBC is offered the Canalside property but they choose stay at One HSBC Center.  The ECHDC takes the land they want in order to recruit a new anchor tenant for Canalside without providing the Common Council the input they desire into the selection and planning process.

3.)  HSBC is offered the Canalside property yet chooses to vacate the Tower and build a new complex in Amherst (rumored to be Cross Pointe Business Park off the 990).  One HSBC Center goes dark, they choose not to stay in the city and several thousand jobs leave our urban core…making investment from a new Canalside anchor tenant less likely.

None of these options are “double plus good” and each result leaves more questions behind than answers.

This action by the ECHDC could be the “Red/Green Budget: Development Edition”, an epic miscalculation which can change the face of a region irrevocably.

So, let’s see how this strong arm tactic works out, if nothing else, it’ll be fun to watch the FAIL circus set up today at the Common Council.

3 Responses to “Canalside 2, Electric Boogaloo”

  1. lefty August 4, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    A couple of questions?

    Isn’t it fair to say tough luck to Seneca One? After all, they have not been the best landlord to HSBC. They could have been working on renovations, floor by floor, for the last 10-15 years. I can see where some want to make HSBC/Phillips Lytle the villain in the situation but I doubt their rent checks bounce.

    I am also unclear on the math. From what I can tell, HSBC occupies 653,000 square feet and 21 of the 38 occupiable floors. I have also read that about 4,000 of the 6,000 of the local workforce are in the tower. The Seneca One plan is to build another 600,000 sq feet of green/modern space. If HSBC were to green light this plan…wouldn’t a good amount of the tower go dark anyways?

    Lastly, rough math says each floor is 30,000 sq feet. While there is not a company that could take up 20 floors in one lease…I think there might be 20 companies that could take a floor each. Shouldn’t it be the responsibility of Seneca One to figure this out?

    Maybe this could be a positive for downtown in the long run? HSBC is vacated by the two largest tenants and they are replaced with 20-30 smaller companies that can upgrade their address and not have to pay such a premium to do so.

    Or…maybe the whole situation is just a stinking shit bomb.

    • Mark August 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

      no its a shit bomb.

      i don’t see that tower magically bucking the trends of every other CBD building that lost its anchor tenant in Buffalo over the last 20yrs besides goldome HQs getting saved by M&T and that was because it was relatively new.

      any new hsbc project is a positive only because it allegedly consolidates regional and assorted upstate operations into one complex for an additional 1,000 jobs *allegedly*

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. HSBC – Canalside or Bust? | WNYmedia.net - August 6, 2010

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