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Buffalo getting a Bass Pro - downtown!

Dan

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Buffalo getting a Bass Pro Outlets - downtown!

Maybe. From the Buffalo News:

Bass Pro officials have presented plans to state economic development officials that call not only for a huge retailing outlet in the old Memorial Auditorium, but also a privately run Great Lakes museum on the site.

For the first time in the 18-month courtship of Bass Pro, the company has put on paper its vision of what the Aud could become. The preliminary plans are viewed as a milestone in efforts to make the sought-after retailer the anchor of Buffalo's Erie Canal Harbor revitalization.

The schematics depict a 150,000-square-foot, multilevel sporting goods store - about the size of a Wal-Mart Super Center - and the companion museum, according to sources close to the negotiations.

Bass Pro, which is known for incorporating local outdoor themes and regional history into its stores, views a Great Lakes-themed museum as a way to bolster the Buffalo site as a tourist destination, sources said.

The company's plans, which were conveyed to state development executives this week, are viewed as further evidence of Bass Pro's growing interest in establishing a Buffalo store.
More online (Buffalo News articles expire after about a week.)
 

Cardinal

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Good for Buffalo. From what I know of the city, they are the right demographic for Bass Pro. It would be nice to see a development with this type of theme instead of the usual tourist-y stuff like Navy Pier or Fisherman's Wharf.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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Citylover said:
Is this a joke?
-It doesn't appear to be now that our local congressman Quinn has met with them at their headquarters. The state upped the amount of money that was suppose to go to the failed adelphia project. From what I've heard, if the deal goes through, there is talk of unearthing part of a canal that runs underneath the building that was part of the commercial slip back in the Erie Canal days.

-Like so many other projects that have been proposed and never materialized, I'll believe it once the project starts, although this seems more likely of happening now than it did when they first came out with the idea.

-I'll have to post some pictures monday.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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update

Well looks like Bass Pro is showing interest and Gov Pataki mentioned it in his state of the state address.

http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20040108/1040686.asp

"I am pleased to announce that Bass Pro has formally indicated its desire to locate a multimillion-dollar flagship center in downtown Buffalo. This new Bass Pro project will bring in hundreds of jobs and thousands of visitors to Buffalo," Pataki said.
Here's some old pics I took back in november. I'll have to take some new one's soon.

East side of the building
1796P1010019-med.jpg
1796P1010020-med.jpg

Donavan State Building across the street that would be demolished if Bass Pro buys the Aud. This pic looking southeast.
1796P1010021-med.jpg

Looking north under skyway. West side of building on right.
1796P1010027-med.jpg

Site of Inner Harbor Project where the old Commercial Slip (part of the Erie Canal) is being unearthed. This is across the street from the southside of the Aud.
1796P1010026-med.jpg
 
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FueledByRamen

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Re: Watch Out - I hear it can get rough

el Guapo said:
Yeah the "Free Gun with Purchase" thing really scares me. There was some bank in Kentucky I think that the Daily Show did a report on because they were giving away a variety of shotguns and rifles to people who opened bank accounts!

"Hey, thanks for coming in and seeing the layout of our bank and noticing the inside of our vault, now heres a gun for you!"
 

jordanb

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So would this be a big-box style devlopment with a one story building surrounded by acres of parking or would it be infill? If it's a big box, then it's a pity they're putting it right next to the light rail line.
 

El Feo

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Re: Re: Watch Out - I hear it can get rough

FueledByRamen said:
Yeah the "Free Gun with Purchase" thing really scares me. There was some bank in Kentucky I think that the Daily Show did a report on because they were giving away a variety of shotguns and rifles to people who opened bank accounts!

"Hey, thanks for coming in and seeing the layout of our bank and noticing the inside of our vault, now heres a gun for you!"
This scares you because.....???? :)
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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jordanb said:
So would this be a big-box style devlopment with a one story building surrounded by acres of parking or would it be infill? If it's a big box, then it's a pity they're putting it right next to the light rail line.
-Its the adaptive reuse of the old hockey arena.
 

Dan

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Re: Re: Re: Watch Out - I hear it can get rough

El Feo said:
This scares you because.....???? :)
... they're probably giving away crappy rifles, like Marlin bolt action .22s.
 

El Feo

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Watch Out - I hear it can get rough

Dan said:
... they're probably giving away crappy rifles, like Marlin bolt action .22s.
Well, you couldn't stick up a bank with one, but they're good enough for killin' groundhogs! ;) Plus, every good Kentuckian knows you can get $50 for that freebie rifle at the next police department "firearm buyback day."
 

UpstateNYRox

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Bass Pro project includes hotel
By SHARON LINSTEDT
News Staff Reporter
1/15/2004
Bass Pro Shops' grand vision for Buffalo's vacant Memorial Auditorium includes a $13.3 million luxury hotel tucked into the old arena's rafters as a key component in what would be a $77.5 million retail and entertainment complex.

Plans for the 100,000-square-foot hotel were among the new details revealed by state development officials this week in briefings for leaders of the State Legislature.

The presentations highlighted Bass Pro's preliminary plans for the mothballed Aud, which include a $40 million sporting goods store, a $20 million Great Lakes theme museum, a $4.2 million restaurant and the sky-high hotel.

"It's still a rough draft, but seeing the plans made it real," said Assembly Majority Leader Paul A. Tokasz, D-Cheektowaga. "There's finally something tangible in front of us. It's quite impressive."

Neither Bass Pro nor Empire State Development Corp. has released the preliminary drawings for public viewing.

The presentations follow Gov. George E. Pataki's Jan. 7 State of the State address, in which he officially announced state efforts to attract Bass Pro to Buffalo. The briefing is viewed as a starting point in discussions regarding use of $32 million of the unspent so-called "Adelphia money" as bait to hook the sought-after retailer.

"There's still a lot of questions to be answered before we get to any kind of deal. We're talking about a significant amount of public money, so this is going to require a thorough review," added Tokasz.

The $32 million, originally earmarked for construction of an Adelphia Communications operations center in front of the HSBC Arena, is part of a $72 million incentive package that also includes $30 million in federal transportation dollars and $10 million in aid from Erie County and the City of Buffalo.

In addition to converting the Aud into a retail/entertainment complex, those funds would go toward demolition of the Donovan State Office Building and construction of a combination parking structure/intermodal transportation hub.

The total price tag for all of those projects is now pegged at $108 million, with Bass Pro contributing $32 million to the deal.

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo, who also attended the briefing session, admitted the "public ask" for the massive project is enormous but said it is worth considering.

"This is an opportunity that warrants our very serious consideration. We don't have hard numbers yet, and the elements are still fluid, but it's clear this is something that could have a significant positive impact on Buffalo," Hoyt said.

State Sen. Byron W. Brown, D-Buffalo, said he is encouraged by Bass Pro's recent statements that it is serious about bringing a store to Buffalo, calling the declaration "just what the doctor ordered" to jump-start development in the Erie Canal Harbor neighborhood. But like Tokasz, he is concerned about the level of public funding needed to make that happen.

"I think we're going to have to look at a variety of factors. I need to know what it means in direct and ancillary jobs, tourism projections, the multiplier effect in the local economy and the potential for spinoff development," Brown said.

Brown said he would support the inducement package if the balance of public funding and benefits to the community wind up on the plus side for Buffalo.

While there is no timetable for formalizing the proposed incentive package, Tokasz said he expects it to take several weeks.

Ultimately, the governor, State Senate and Assembly will all need to sign off on revising the original memorandum of understanding regarding the Adelphia money to redirect it to a new use.

Bass Pro is said to be considering a late-2006 store opening.
 

JNA

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Clarksville Indiana joins the list of getting a Bass Pro Shop.

River Falls Mall has landed a big one
Bass Pro Shops 'megastore' is to open in the fall of 2005
http://www.courier-journal.com/localnews/2004/02/24in/met-front-bass0224-9246.html

Called Outdoor World, the store will have 280,000 square feet — more than 6 acres — of floor space...
But the sheer size of Outdoor World easily would make it the largest single store in the community, and one of the largest in the Louisville area. A Wal-Mart SuperCenter, by comparison, is usually slightly more than 200,000 square feet. Galyan's, a two-story recreation outlet in St. Matthews, Ky., covers 80,000 square feet.
"It's like a cult almost," he said, adding that the larger stores frequently draw customers from 90 or more miles away. "It's like Disney World for the outdoor enthusiast."
 

UpstateNYRox

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from Buffalo News

State offers $80 million to attract Bass Pro to city
By SHARON LINSTEDT
News Staff Reporter
4/23/2004

State economic development officials have formally baited the hook they hope will land a massive Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store in Memorial Auditorium.

The Empire State Development Corp. has forwarded a written offer, totaling $80 million in incentives, to the Springfield, Mo., retailer for the proposed $105 million project.

Mayor Anthony M. Masiello, who started courting Bass Pro in 2001, said the incentive offer is "proof positive" that the long negotiation process is entering a new phase. "It means the level of seriousness is escalating," Masiello said. "Offers are now being discussed, and I'm more optimistic than ever that we'll be able to bring Bass Pro to Buffalo."

Others involved in efforts to woo Bass Pro portrayed the inducement offer as a "significant milestone."

"This is a big deal," one high-ranking development official said. "It means there's agreement on an outline for this project. It signals a serious commitment on all sides."

But the official also cautioned that the financial blueprint is still a work in progress and doesn't bind any of the parties to a final agreement or contract.

Bass Pro is looking to start construction in early 2005 and open in late 2006. The incentive package, which covers transformation of the mothballed Aud into a retail/entertainment complex, as well as related parking and transportation projects, contains these key elements:

$21 million from state funds that originally had been set aside to attract Adelphia Communications to the waterfront.

$12 million from unspecified state sources.

$30 million in federal transportation dollars.

$17 million from Erie County and the City of Buffalo, primarily in borrowing against future sales tax revenues to obtain seed money for the retailer.

The incentive package assumes it will cost approximately $64 million to gut the interior of the Aud and build a combination sporting goods store, restaurant, hotel and museum complex.

The package also assumes a roughly $30 million cost to demolish the Donovan State Office Building, relocate state workers and construct a new 1,000-vehicle parking ramp and intermodal transportation center.

Another $10 million, just announced Thursday by Rep. Jack Quinn, R-Hamburg, would fund a new ramp to improve access to the site from the Niagara Thruway. The off-ramp will directly connect to the parking ramp and transportation center.

If those cost figures and the incentive numbers hold up, Bass Pro would have to invest $30 million in the Buffalo project.

Quinn, who has been instrumental in securing federal funds to support the project, said he hopes funding for the access ramp, along with $13.5 million in additional new federal funds for other waterfront roadway projects, will help seal the Bass Pro deal.

In Buffalo this week, Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corp., played it close to the vest when asked about the status of Bass Pro negotiations. The state's development chief expressed optimism but declined to provide details. "We're trying everything we possibly can," Gargano said. "The important thing is our talks haven't hit an end, they are ongoing."

Bass Pro spokesman Larry Whitely also dodged questions about specifics, saying only that the retailer "remains very interested" in Buffalo.

Assembly Majority Leader Paul Tokasz, D-Cheektowaga, said the formal offer to Bass Pro makes the project, which has been talked about for nearly three years, "more concrete."

While the Western New York legislative delegation is "absolutely committed" to supporting the waterfront project, it has yet to sign off on any aspect, including use of the Adelphia money, the lawmaker said.

"We still haven't had a full briefing. We still don't have a full understanding of the costs or Bass Pro's role," Tokasz said. "I'm assuming that will happen shortly as part of the (state) budget process."
 

Bear Up North

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Cabella's, the major competitor for Bass Pro, has it's largest free-standing store in Dundee, MI, about twenty (20) miles north of Toledo. The BMF building can been seen from U.S. 23, the major go-around-metro Detroit freeway that is heavily travelled by sportsmen heading for northern Michigan.

From what I can see, it has been very successful. The place is packed, no matter what day of the week you go.

I bought a great bait-casting reel there a couple years ago.

My point? These stores seem to work because the clientele they pick-up is focused on a specific type of product.....not a whole row of different things.
They do become "destinations".

Bear Swiping At A Bass
 

oulevin

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Bass Pro alone will not improve the city's attractiveness or save downtown. But Oklahoma City did use it to attract other hospitality businesses to its Bricktown district. Most locals had a philosophical problem with the deal the city brokered with BPS to get a store here, but its presence has resulted in further investment such as hotels, movie theaters, restaurants, and more retail in Bricktown. Toby Keith's proposed I Love This Bar and Grill music venue may not have happened without it. So a BPS can be worth the public money (and downtown space) if tied into other projects.
 

bflo_la

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Another "Believe It When I See It" Responnse

Having seen so many pie-in-the-sky, pipe dream projects go by the wayside in Buffalo, I too will believe it when I see it.

Not sure how well the public financing will go over, following a Buffalo News expose' of public financing of downtown projects over the past 20 years (sorry no link), but I don't see it being any different than Scripps Florida project that will get over $600 million in county and state financing.
 

Jaxspra

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Bass Pro opened here about 4 years ago or so. It was a reuse of an old big box structure. The project is a TIF project and has not helped any of the surrounding properties at all. The City was told several things would be done, extensive landscaping/;water features along Highway 70 and still none of this has been done and the rest of the existing strip mall sits vacant. Bass Pro is doing well but hasnt had the desired or projected impact originally thought.
 

jenniplans

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Bass Pro

As much as we may dislike the big box, it does provide people with incomes. I know that personally I wouldn't have made it through undergrad and grad school without the Springfield MO Bass Pro. My mom's salary there helped out with all the tuition expenses...
 

UpstateNYRox

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Bass Pro puts Aud project in motion

Retailer formalizes waterfront complex

By SHARON LINSTEDT
News Staff Reporter
2/16/2005


Bass Pro Shops has finally put pen to paper and signed the documents to officially set its $123 million Buffalo harborfront retail project in motion.
Tuesday's signing of the "memorandum of understanding" by Bass Pro President Jim Hagale formalizes the retailer's November announcement that it will transform Memorial Auditorium into a 250,000-square-foot Outdoor World store. The retail complex will open by spring 2007.

"We're signed and moving forward. This is another big step," said Bass Pro spokesman Larry Whitely.

The spokesman said despite a nearly three-month gap between the announcement and signing of the agreement, the Buffalo project was never in doubt.

"It's not unusual. It's happened a lot of places," Whitely said. "Gosh, the details involved are just enormous, so it takes a good amount of time to go over everything."

Empire State Development Corp. Chairman Charles A. Gargano said the sporting goods "superstore" is one of the state's most exciting economic developments, and one of the most important announcements for Buffalo in decades.

"This project will transform downtown Buffalo and its historic waterfront into a major tourist destination, creating hundreds of new jobs, and attracting visitors from throughout the Northeast and Canada," Gargano said.

The Outdoor World store is expected to attract 3 million to 5 million shoppers per year, generating $170 million in annual sales, and upwards of $14 million in sales tax revenue. Annual payroll for the store's 400 workers is put at more than $8 million.

"This development represents an incredible public-private partnership with Bass Pro Shops, and the federal, state and local government. They are all making a substantial investment in the future of downtown Buffalo to make this venture a reality," Gargano aded.

In addition to binding the retailer and various government funding partners to their roles in the complicated project, which includes providing $66 million in incentives and at least $57 million in private investment, the memorandum also starts the clock on numerous deadlines leading up to a spring 2007 store opening.

"This solidifies their intent and fires the starting gun," said Mayor Anthony M. Masiello. "Now we all roll up our sleeves and get to work."

The mayor said the retailer and public funding partners will meet in Buffalo next month for a strategy session.

Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra, also a signatory to the agreement, could not be reached to comment Tuesday.

Under the schedule outlined in the memorandum, the retail chain, based in Springfield, Mo., has until mid-June to produce preliminary designs and cost estimates for converting the Aud to a retail/hotel/restaurant complex. By mid-October, Bass Pro must complete plans to renovate the Aud's interior.

A timetable for gutting the Aud, demolishing the Donovan State Office Building and starting construction of the store complex and parking ramp/transportation center, will be determined by year's end. Plans for a free-standing, Great Lakes-theme museum also will be firmed up in the next several months.

Former Rep. Jack Quinn, R-Hamburg, who orchestrated federal funding for the project, said he is delighted the formal agreement has been signed.

"If this was good news back in December, it's even better news today in light of everything that has gone on in the last month or two in the city and county," Quinn said.

The agreement also coordinates responsibilities of all the parties as the project moves along. Under its terms, the state will have ownership of the Aud, leasing it to Bass Pro for an annual rent of $1 over a 49-year lease.

The city will be the owner of the parking garage/transportation center, and will have the right to lease up to 300 spaces in the 1,000-vehicle ramp to downtown commuters. The city will retain revenue from those parkers to offset the costs of ramp operations and maintenance.

The Great Lakes museum will be part of the Bass Pro project, but will be owned by a yet-to-be-designated public agency or nonprofit group. The retailer will assist the museum by funding its staff.

The agreement also gives Bass Pro a role in development of the vacant Webster block, southeast of the Aud, between Main and Washington streets. The retailer will have a say regarding future uses, architectural design and scale of development on that parcel.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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With the county in worse fiscal shape than the city (state will probally follow suite shortly), I still wonder how the public money needed for this project will be available.

At least they have it in writing now.
 

UpstateNYRox

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Giambra says he'll approve Bass Pro deal

No longer hesitates at signing despite county's fiscal ills

By SHARON LINSTEDT
News Staff Reporter
3/2/2005


After balking two weeks ago at signing an agreement with Bass Pro Shops, Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra now says he will sign the memorandum of understanding to set the project in motion for downtown Buffalo.

"I've had a chance to review the MOU and believe we will be able to live up to our role despite the fiscal issues we're currently facing," Giambra said Tuesday.

Bass Pro President Jim Hagale last month signed the agreement, which commits the Springfield, Mo.-based retailer to locating a 250,000-square-foot Outdoor World store in Buffalo's mothballed Memorial Auditorium. The store is the centerpiece in a $123 million development that also will include a transportation center/parking garage, and a Great Lakes-themed museum.

While the state and the city signed the document immediately to keep the project moving toward a spring 2007 completion, Giambra balked, citing concerns about the county's ability to raise the project's $14 million local share through a bond sale.

"At this point, we still don't know where our credit rating will stand, but we've identified some alternative financing strategies that will allow us to honor our commitment," Giambra said.

If the county's credit rating makes it too costly to borrow the $14 million, which will be repaid via future sales tax revenues, Giambra said, he will tap into the county's share of the national tobacco settlement.

"This is money we can use for capital expenditures, so it's a solid backup if a bond sale is not feasible," he said. "We have millions left in that fund, and this would be an appropriate use."

The county has about $80 million from the tobacco settlement. Previous uses of that fund have included construction of the new public safety campus, library renovations and Erie Community College projects.

Though he will sign the memorandum of understanding, Giambra said, he is still not completely comfortable with the $66 million in federal, state and local government funding that will go into the Bass Pro project.

"I'm holding my nose a bit over the public subsidy, but we couldn't bring this project to our community without significant incentives," he said. "I can only hope that our returns on the investment meet or exceed our expectations."

Giambra's participation is key, according to Ron Jury, a spokesman for Empire State Development Corp., the lead negotiator for the Bass Pro deal.

"The county has always been a part of the team that negotiated this historic deal for downtown Buffalo," Jury said. "Now with the final signature in place, we can take the next step with Bass Pro company officials to develop a project plan and continue moving this project forward."

Mayor Anthony M. Masiello said Bass Pro executives will come to Buffalo to meet with other project stakeholders later this month to start pinning down the myriad details of the project.


e-mail: slinstedt@buffnews.com
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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The county has about $80 million from the tobacco settlement. Previous uses of that fund have included construction of the new public safety campus, library renovations and Erie Community College projects.
Tomacco settlement money that have been spent five-times over, just like the Adelphia funds. Currently the new public safety campus has been mothballed (as well as seriously behind deadline even before the county crisis).

I'm still skeptical, although I hope it does go through. Bad time to be asking for public assistance though.............
 

spunky2

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UpstateNYRox said:
Bass Pro project includes hotel....
Is this hotel/store combo their new operating model? The one here also is attached to a hotel/casino... appropriately themed hotel/casino, of course. Complete with bowling lanes in a trailer.
 
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