“The information revealed through the study gave a much clearer picture and provided much greater perspective of not only what would be needed to construct a new Convention Center but how that new building would affect and be incorporated into the cityscape. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so it needs to be done right.”
Officials say the Delaware site would provide the greatest value for the least cost and would allow the reopening of Genesee Street to Pearl Street, which is blocked by the current Convention Center.
Poloncarz says the suggested site “presents the best return on investment and offers the most exciting, transformative vision for Buffalo” with enough space for a modern Convention Center.
In 2018, Erie County commissioned a Market and Feasibility Study to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the existing Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (BNCC) and evaluate the Buffalo-Niagara market and Peer City competitors to determine the optimal size Convention Center given the size of the market. This study noted the deficiencies of the existing BNCC and determined that the market exists for Buffalo to support a larger convention center that would increase the economic benefit to the local economy and increase the number of jobs attributable to the Center.
The study estimated preliminary costs at $441 million – including acquisition fees, demolition of the current Convention Center and constructing a new 3-story Convention Center, a new parking ramp on the current Convention Center Site and moving the Hotchkiss House to a new location nearby.
No formal negotiations have been held to buy current property owners out to make way for the new convention center.
If funding can be secured, officials hope to start construction in about three years.
View the study on Erie County’s website.