Staying Local At Canalside

January 26, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 8:57 AM EDT

By WKBW News

January 26, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 8:57 AM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) – The debate continues over which businesses should be established along the waterfront in the Queen City. Planners have focused on luring big name outlets, like Bass Pro. Now, there is a push for leaders to keep it local.

A group known as “Buffalo First” will hold a rally outside the headquarters of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, which is in charge of waterfront development.

They want local businesses to be the anchor tenants in the new Canalside development and occupy at least 50 percent of all retail space. They said local businesses, unique to Buffalo, would lure people into the new development not big name stores that already exist in suburban shopping malls.

Canalside is already undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation. Crews are building a canal system, three bridges and 22,000 square feet of towpaths to help attract business to that area.

“We're seeing lots of interest from major developers, and not just local, we've got folks who are feeling the buzz that' s been created,” Member of the Empire State Development Corporation Sam Hoyt said.

Leaders are not quite ready to say who is interested in the site, only that they have received interest. The group holding the demonstration said its time to think local and avoid another Bass Pro meltdown, which wastes time and money.