What's Next For One HSBC Center?

December 5, 2012 Updated Dec 5, 2012 at 8:13 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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December 5, 2012 Updated Dec 5, 2012 at 8:13 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW-TV) - HSBC Bank is pulling out of the building that bears it's name.

The city's signature building was built at a cost of 50-million dollars between 1969 and 1972. The 40-story office tower was known as the Marine Midland Center until HSBC took over in 1999.

Standing 40 stories tall, the HSBC tower dominates the buffalo skyline and come next October more than half of it will be left vacant.

"certainly concerned that they are moving," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, "but feel good about the fact that there is a lot of investment interest in that part of the city."

The good news, the bank isn't moving out of Western New York, meaning more than 3-thousand employees will keep their jobs here.

The bank released a statement saying in part, "we are committed to Buffalo and following such a review we have decided to maintain our existing operations in the downtown atrium building and facility in Depew."

So now what to do with all this space? Brown says there is interest from numerous companies including international firms that may want the space.

"There have been discussions with Seneca One Reality with entities that are interested in leasing the tower," Brown said. "I think those discussions are good ones."

Many are concerned the added inventory will drop market prices causing a ripple effect through class B and C office space downtown.

"It potentially could cause what will happen if they decide to continue marketing it as strictly as an office building," said Buffalo developer Mark Croce. "It could drive a lot of other smaller tenants that are looking for new space to that space depending on their prices."

Croce thinks the city should be focused on re-populating downtown and says a mixed used condo building may be the way to go. He does not think the HSBC move will be a major setback for the city.

"It's a bump in the road but when you say detrimental at the end of the day the building is there the building offers a lot of amenities, it's a very iconic building and somebody is going to find a way to use it in its current form or reuse it because it's a building that will be standing for many centuries to come," he replied.