Completion Of Convention Center Study Begins Community Conversation

Modified: September 20, 2018 1:17pm

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Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz joined Visit Buffalo Niagara (“VBN”) President & CEO Patrick Kaler, and Managing Director of HVS Consulting Thomas Hazinski along with enthusiastic community members to announce the completion of the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center Study, a market and feasibility analysis study on the redevelopment of the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (“BNCC”) that was completed by HVS. The HVS team conducted research on the convention market in Buffalo which included analysis of the overall Buffalo-Niagara market, historical operations at the BNCC, comparable venues and operations, and potential sites for a redeveloped convention center. The HVS study can be read in its entirety here.

“The release of the HVS study allows our community to explore several different possibilities as we decide on a new Convention Center, or if we still want to be in the convention business at all,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “ We have seen great economic growth in Erie County over the past several years, with a concurring surge in hotels, restaurants, and other entertainment. However, the current Buffalo Niagara Convention Center is functionally obsolete and, rather than attracting new conventions and supporting more business, will continue to decline in events and attendance. If, as a community, we elect to do nothing we are in effect abandoning the convention/meeting business because the current 40-year-old facility can no longer compete for business. Now is the time to have the conversation on what comes next.”

Among its findings the HVS study noted the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center’s relative paucity of function space in relation to convention centers in comparable markets such as Milwaukee, Richmond, and Grand Rapids. The study recommends a building program that would approximately double the current space and would allow the facility to handle more simultaneous events by offering more divisible function space.

Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler said, “Taking the next steps to implement this study will ensure that Buffalo will become a premier meetings/convention and events destination that planners will book to create overnight stays, fill our restaurants and entertainment venues, further add to our $1.8 billion tourism industry and keep our employment base strong. The study’s recommendations could make the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center the crown jewel of our destination’s revitalization and provide a once-in-a-lifetime return on investment for the future of Buffalo.”

A 90-day public comment period is now open on the study and county residents are encouraged to join the discussion by clicking here.