The Buffalo Convention and Visitors Bureau's board of directors Friday gave its unanimous support for the findings of a study calling for construction of a new, larger convention center.
Dan Kohane, chairman of the Buffalo Convention Center Management Corp., said the board's approval, which follows a thumbs-up from the center's executive committee, is still a preliminary step toward plans for a new building.
"There's still a lot of work to be done, but the board is in agreement with the general findings," Kohane said. "We agree that there is a real need for a new building and that it should have approximately 125,000 square feet of exhibition space and be in proximity to hotels and other amenities."
The chairman stressed that the board's acceptance of the findings makes no statement about how the new center should be funded or where it should be located.
The study, by C.H. Johnson Consulting Inc. of Chicago, favors putting the new convention center either on the site of the Mohawk Parking Ramp in the heart of downtown, or near the Marine Midland Arena, north of the Cobblestone District.
The price tag for the center is projected to be $95.5 million excluding land costs. No timetable has been established for making the key decisions regarding location and funding.
In other business, the board members learned the convention center will end 1997 with a $65,000 budget surplus. Kohane credited the black ink to improvements in the center's food service, which includes the hiring of a new chef.
The extra money will be rolled over into the center's 1998 budget and a portion of it will be targeted for advertising.
"We have a chance to beef up the ad budget to attract more local events, which are an important component of convention center business," Kohane said.
The center's enhanced advertising budget, which will grow from $9,000 to $20,000, will be used to purchase larger yellow pages ads and fund promotional flyers that will be distributed locally.
In 1997, the center hosted 96 small-scale events, such as proms, wedding receptions and bar mitzvahs, a number that's expected to increase with more advertising efforts.
Building in Rochester
named after Magnano
Louis Magnano, president and chief executive officer of Blue Bird Coach Lines Inc., will have a building at the Rochester Italian American Community Center named in his honor.
The building, which is the first of a planned complex, will house the center's business office, ballroom, club rooms and exercise facilities.
Blue Bird, headquartered in Olean, has terminals in Buffalo, Rochester and Erie, Pa.
moving to Big Board
Community Bank System Inc. is moving from the Nasdaq National Market System to the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol "CBU," effective Dec. 31.
Parent of Community Bank N.A., which has a number of branches throughout the Southern Tier, DeWitt, N.Y.-based CBSI cited less price volatility and more efficient pricing for investors as reasons for the move to the Big Board.