So, Bass Pro isn’t coming to Buffalo.
As my idea of roughing it is Room Service closing early, I didn’t really have a vested interest in the outcome per se. The Canalside development is making positive inroads along the water with the Central Wharf and the surrounding area. Things are showing signs of progress. I don’t think Bass Pro was a deciding factor in well much of anything, but is indicative of a seemingly endless quest on the regional leadership for the “If we can get (fill in name of fictional attraction here), everything will be great, good beer will flow from hydrants, Crystal Beach lollipops will sprout from the trees” and so on.
It would pretty obvious that Buffalo was going to be dropped like the blind date with the nice personality for some time now, even before Congressman Higgins drew his politically motivated line in the sand. While it was long past time for B.P. to shit or get off the pot, the announcement was tantamount to telling us what we already knew. The complaint about toxic attitudes about Bass Pro among the populace rings a little hollow to me. They were offered 35+ million dollars from an area that really can’t afford it, choices of locations, etc. About all we didn’t promise was to still respect them in the morning. Given that ludicrous press conference to celebrate the memorandum to begin to consider to start thinking about possibly contemplating a potential store in 2001 and 9 years of nothing else publicly, while all the while building a number of stores including in Toronto and Auburn, can they really be surprised that the rank and file population was a little full for the shenanigans?
I mean, if I am running Dick’s Sporting Goods or Gander Mountain and have to watch verbal tap dancing, I couldn’t help but wonder “what the hell? Nobody’s subsidizing me, shooooot”
If you take a walk down the marina, and get close to the water, and are generally unplugged from everything, one of the most universally soothing, peace inducing sounds is that of the water lapping up to the land. If you look at the genial populace doing their level best to make the best out of what water access there is, that solves what needs to happen there. One of the truisms to the success stories in and around the city, is that the best regions like Elmwood, Hertel and now sections of Grant become what they are through lots of little things, not because Joel Giambra wanted Waterworld, or Joel Rose doesn’t want anything, Anthony Masiello donning Camos, and Bryan Brown wants to cast aspersions on anything.
The canalside folks are on the right track and turn Benderson’s savviest recruiters loose by all means, but some things seem be slipping under the radar a little bit. Think of the folks squeezing themselves onto the Marina. Can you imagine the populace if they could actually touch the water? Grant Park in Chicago doesn’t have an anchor tenant, but the citizens can get their toes wet and when dry, they want to buy stuff. A city beach be the anchor? That’s crazy talk. Walk through Waverly, Crystal, Sherkston and some of the Canadian beaches and count the New York license plates.
If you build it, they will come, even if the it is a sand castle.
Shops would multiply like rabbits, which could inspire growth of the great programming already taking place at the Central Wharf. Take some of that BP incentives and lock a loyal Buffalo firm like Phillips Lytle or HSBC into some of the new space and you have an instant year round populace to go along with the potential merchants and residents. It’s a crazy thought, but could be a thing.
For years, my dad goes to the attic for the Christmas decorations, some of which are wrapped in a newspaper headline from the Buffalo Evening News, with the line about “Buffalo’s Waterfront ready to take off!” The exclamation point commemorates the 1967 construction of the marina. So, let’s quit mourning the decade long dalliance with B.P. and move on.
There is progress happening and I think will continue be, even without the city lifting it’s collective skirt, asking national chains if “they like to party.”