What's Next for Canal Side & Buffalo's Waterfront?

August 2, 2010 Updated Aug 2, 2010 at 8:37 AM EDT

By John Borsa

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August 2, 2010 Updated Aug 2, 2010 at 8:37 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Now that Bass Pro has pulled out of plans to build a signature retail store on Buffalo's waterfront, what's next for the development plan known as Canal Side?

On a special edition of Channel 7's Good Morning Western New York, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said he's working on retaining $35 million in state money that was earmarked for Bass Pro.

That same money was formerly attached to the once-planned Adelphia Tower.

"We need that money here in Buffalo and Western New York," Brown said. "We're certainly going to do everything that we can to persuade state officials that that money needs to stay."

One key goal is to find a replacement for Bass Pro. The Springfield, Missouri-based retailer pulled out of the development project after Rep. Brian Higgins demanded the company sign a lease by Monday.

Bass Pro officials announced last Friday that they were no longer interested in building a Buffalo store.

Brown said he wants a major retail anchor to replace Bass Pro and build at the company's former site, where the Memorial Auditorium once stood.

Higgins agrees that a major retail anchor should be included in the project, but said work must continue on providing the infrastructure improvements that will attract mass development.

"Roads and bridges that are necessary to unlock the economic potential of lands that have been economically dead for 50 years," said Higgins.

Higgins said some of the $35 million could be used to build a bridge to connect the Inner and Outer Harbors.

Buffalo's Common Council continues to debate transferring eight-acres of city-owned land to the state for Inner Harbor development.

The Council is expected to meet this week to discuss the measure, which includes pumping roughly $10 million into the city's nine Council districts.

The Council has delayed its vote on a land transfer at the urging of community activists, who are demanding a Community Benefits Agreement be included in the deal.

"A negotiated, enforceable contract between the development oversight body and the community that would ensure quality development," said Micaela Shellaby from the Coalition for Economic Justice.

"We want quality jobs, mixed-income housing," Shellaby said. "We want to make sure there's opportunities for jobs down here."

The Council is on summer recess and officials said last week that a vote before September was unlikely.