BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - After nine years of hype and hope, sporting goods retailer BassPro is another one that got away.
The talk about Bass Pro is over for good. The company pulled outFriday, saying it could not meet a deadline to commit to theproject.
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chairman Jordan Levysaid, "I'm thoroughly disappointed in the outcome."
It was to be the anchor tenant of a $300 million project onBuffalo's inner harbor, a 130,000 square foot Bass Pro Store. Thecompany had already sunk a million dollars into the plans, but nowhas pulled out.
"I didn't hope this would ever happen. A lot of us have workedhard to have a different outcome, and frankly, it's a failing,"said Levy.
>>>Local leaders are already pointing fingers to find someone to blame for Bass Pro's departure, but as the Common Council Majority Leader points out, now that Bass Pro is out of the picture, HSBC says they want the Webster block, the same piece of land that Bass Pro was looking to obtain from the Common Council
In 2004, with great fanfare, Bass Pro's founder Johnny Morriscame to Buffalo to announce the company's intention to buildhere.
Morris said, "It's not necessarily a slam dunk or real easy, Imean there's a lot of things that have to happen."
The Aud came down to accommodate final plans, but a lawsuit overpublic funds used to lure Bass Pro here, and a lack of action fromBuffalo lawmakers to transfer land for the canal side project, mayhave contributed to the store cutting bait.
Levy said, "Certain small pockets of people once again decidedit wasn't something they wanted, so they sort of helped drive themout."
Eric Recoon of Benderson Development said Bass Pro also did notlike news coverage of its private negotiations.
"Bass Pro is a private company. They're frankly not accustomedto all this negativity. The negativity here became very toxic,"said Recoon.
Waterfront planners say the canal side project will moveforward, but the search will begin now for a new anchor tenant.
Levy said, "We have identified ten anchor opportunities, and youcan revitalize a vacant waterfront and begin the renaissance ofwestern New York. That's what we always dreamed of."
Mayor Byron Brown said Bass Pro President Jim Hagele told himthat the Common Council's failure to move on the land deal on theWebster block contributed to Bass Pro's decision.
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