In mid December the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation released this sexy sketch of their vision for the Inner Harbor neighborhood, right outside the front door of HSBC Arena:
At the same time they gave Bass Pro, who has been designated to rehab the shuttered Aud into a mega store, a 30 day deadline to sign on or take a hike.
The 30 days came and went, everyone involved said talks are still ongoing and then said sure... let's give 'em more time!
All we hear now from the ECHDC is the sound of crickets chirping. Oh yeah, and Congressman Higgins got some funds released for an environmental impact statement for that low bridge (bottom of sketch) to take cars over to the Outer Harbor and Fuhrmann Blvd. Don't expect to actually see such a bridge in place much before 2012, if even then.
In twelve days, we will be welcoming thousands of visitors to Buffalo for the NCAA basketball tournament. Just as in 2000 and 2003 and 2004, those visitors will have nowhere to walk to in the immediate vicinity of the arena for things to do. The LRRT ride up to Chippewa will take them past the shuttered Aud, shovel ready lots in the Main/Swan area, an empty Main Place Mall and a boarded up AM&As, boarded up eyesores in the 400 block, and finally by the most decrepit Hyatt in their entire chain. It is so depressing.
By now I am almost pining for Dennis Gorski's old Horizons Waterfront Commission...this entire saga is yet another chapter in the failure of Buffalo's leadership.
So as long as we're presenting beautiful sketches and pie in the sky design ideas for Buffalo's waterfront and the Cobblestone District, allow me to present mine: