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I moved to downtown Buffalo over a year ago and have enjoyed exploring the city and photographing its architectural treasures. While I usually find the older buildings more aesthetically pleasing than the newer ones, I always appreciate the economic vitality that each brings to the community. However, one building stands out as a failure by either measure of beauty or economics.

The Convention Center is the ugliest building in Buffalo and stands guard over a moribund area of the Business District. Unused much of the time, it adds nothing to the day-to-day bustle that is the hallmark of a healthy city. Is this monster merely the result of a gamble to create more hotel rooms in the city? More than just a gamble was lost if one considers that this area, now painfully lacking in pedestrian traffic and marked with empty buildings, is far less than it once was.

Now a new and "improved" convention center is being planned for the Mohawk Ramp section of downtown. To prepare the site, vibrant businesses will be forced out and older buildings -- rich with the potential so recently unleashed on Chippewa Street -- are to be destroyed. The new monolithic replacement structure will neither be a home for new business nor add to the daily commerce of the city.

If we must erect a new convention center, then why not do it in a place conducive to this type of development? There is an area near Marine Midland Arena already level and complete with new infrastructure. Why not there?

Christopher Bretschneider Buffalo

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