Game over. Memorial Auditorium, unused for more than a decade and littered with debris, needs to come down whether Bass Pro comes to Buffalo or not. The building is not only not useful, it's a detraction. It served a thrilling purpose for years, but its time has passed.
Mayor Byron W. Brown has asked the state for permission to tear down the building using taxpayer money that had been earmarked for work on the Bass Pro project -- work that included gutting the arena and preparing it for Bass Pro. Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer and the Legislature should readily see the logic of the request and approve it.
No one can accuse the city of not trying to find an alternate use for the vacant hockey arena, former home to the Buffalo Sabres. For five years, leaders of the city and other agencies have negotiated with Bass Pro Outdoor Shop on a plan for a massive store inside. But Bass Pro never bit, dragging out negotiations and expressing concern over the cost of the project. Now it has expressed interest in a smaller, alternative site, but a clock is ticking in overtime on striking a deal.
The Aud, meanwhile, stands unused and unwanted by anyone but sentimental hockey fans. Indeed it is a hindrance to developing the waterfront area, cutting it off from downtown and squatting on valuable land that could be put to productive use.
This area of downtown is finally primed for revitalization. With a development agency in place -- it is conducting the negotiations with Bass Pro -- and funded with money from the Niagara Power Project relicensing, prospects for action are real. The time to move is now.
The Aud, unfortunately, has no role to play in a revitalized waterfront district. It can do nothing but obstruct at this point, and Buffalo already has more than its share of obstructions, not to mention obstructionists. It needs to be demolished. Up with the Sabres, but down with the Aud.