It's official. Bass Pro is a no go in Buffalo.
Here's the instant analysis editorial:
- After Bass Pro - Buffalo News Editorial
Bass Pro Shops will now be forever known to Buffalo as The One That Got Away.
Friday's announcement that, after nine years of back-and-forth, the national outdoor equipment powerhouse had decided not to build a heavily subsidized superstore in Buffalo's Canal Side project at least puts an end to that elongated process.
The most important thing now, for those who favored the project as a super magnet for other development and for those who opposed it as a corporate-welfare boondoggle, is to move on as quickly as possible.
And, as they move on, there is one thing that the developers of Buffalo's waterfront should always have in the front of their minds. And that's the water.
Here's the Buffalo News Page One article:
- Bass Pro is out of Canal Side plans - Mark Sommer/The Buffalo News
Bass Pro Shops has been told by a growing chorus of Buffalonians -- and in an ultimatum issued last week by Rep. Brian Higgins -- to sink or swim.
On Friday, it sank.
Jim Hagale, president of the Springfield, Mo.-based outdoors retailer, told Higgins in a two-page letter it is pulling the plug, putting an end to a highly public courtship that began nine years ago.
Bass Pro had become a community lightning rod, and it was one of the factors Johnny Morris, the company's chairman, cited in explaining the company's decision to Jordan Levy, chairman of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.
Critics denounced the use of tens of millions in public subsidies to reel it in; demanded a living wage and other agreements in exchange for a transfer of city land; released a report that cast doubt on Bass Pro's ability to generate economic development and boost tax rolls; and filed a lawsuit claiming the project violated the state constitution.
In addition, Higgins, D-Buffalo, publicly released a letter sent to Morris and Hagale issuing a 14-day deadline for the company to sign a lease. The deadline was this coming Monday.
Here is the appropriate folk dance for the occasion:
-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News
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