The deal is done and Bass Pro is no longer a part of it. Now the finger pointing begins. The outdoor super store said part of the reason for the pull out was red tape and the Buffalo Common Council failing to move forward with other pieces of the canal re-development project. But Council member Richard Fontana doesn't buy that.
"Bass Pro owes the City of Buffalo a true explanation of why they are not coming, not just blame it on a month delay by the Council when they delayed nine years. I think that's very, very disheartening and I think they owe the City of Buffalo a true explanation," said Fontana.
Congressman Brian Higgins issued this statement:
"After nearly a decade of talk there comes a point when this community should expect our business partners to either sign on the dotted line or we as a community must again stand up for ourselves and demand we move forward."
But there have been a number of obstacles in the way. Some speculate recent lawsuits from community activists against Bass Pro receiving financial incentives from the tax payer, scared the company away.
"Public money should not be handed out against provisions of the state Constitution. I don't get it, you don't get it, the barber shop on the corner doesn't get it," said Bruce Fisher, a local political insider.
Now city lawmakers are scrambling to save another development deal. A seven acre piece of waterfront property along the Webster Block. HSBC bank representatives are putting pressure on city leaders to transfer that land to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation. The bank currently has 4,000 employees in the HSBC tower and might be looking to expand. There is a chance the city could loose the bank and Mayor Brown says the council needs to act fast,
"I'm hoping that now, after this has occurred, the council will focus on this land transfer agreement...that they will hold a special meeting next week and they will vote on waterfront development and moving this project forward," said Brown.
The land transfer deal would cost Erie Canal Harbor Development $10 million. Mayor Brown says that money would then be funneled into business districts through out the city. He says selling the land would generate hundreds of thousands in tax revenue.