Surprise, surprise! The consultant group hired by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz came up with the exact same recommendation that Poloncarz was looking for. They looked at three different sites in the downtown area for a convention center and came up with the one that will gobble up a block of high-end real estate on Delaware Avenue.
Not only will they be taking valuable real estate that could and should be developed for other uses, instead they will build an ugly windowless monolith. Adding to a long list of terrible decisions regarding beautiful buildings that once lined Delaware Avenue.
Other problems face this development, not the least of which is the attempt to save a 19th century Victorian masterpiece currently occupying the block. They propose to relocate this treasure on the site of the current convention center. I’m not an engineer but I think this might be a pretty dubious project and an unnecessary expense. Further, there seems to be little or no attention given to the possibility of combining the convention center with the soon-to-be proposed Bills downtown stadium.
At this point it is not too late to change course and I would like to propose the following. Within a block of the proposed convention center is several blocks of shovel-ready available real estate all within walking distance of the major hotels in the area. That would be the several blocks immediately behind City Hall where the Shoreline Apartments are being demolished. Plenty of room for the project plus parking. The site needs no further demolition it also doesn’t require the removal of a beautiful Victorian structure and the misuse of prime Delaware Avenue real estate.
It is not too late to change the decision to locate the convention center on Delaware Avenue.