HSBC Considering Several WNY Sites

August 6, 2010 Updated Aug 6, 2010 at 6:35 PM EDT

By John Borsa

August 6, 2010 Updated Aug 6, 2010 at 6:35 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) -- The first hurdle is cleared, but the region is still a long way off from knowing for sure about the future of HSBC Bank USA in downtown Buffalo.

The Webster Block was made available by a unanimous vote of the Common Council on Thursday night.

If the bank selects the Webster Block for future expansion, the city will hand the two-acre parcel over to the state's Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.

London-based HSBC Holdings Plc, parent of HSBC Bank USA, has five months to make a decision, or the Webster Block will remain in the city's control.

It appears the downtown parcel, which is adjacent to HSBC's Atrium Building, is the bank's prime choice for expansion, according to those who are familiar with the process.

But those same people said the bank has other options to consider, including the former Freezer Queen facility on the Outer Harbor.

Two suburban locations are also being considered.

HSBC wants a campus-style office building, similar in style to Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Western New York's new downtown complex.