Good government activist Matthew Ricchiazzi is calling on Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz to sell the county’s dated convention center to Douglas Development — the owner of the adjacent Statler Hotel and Hyatt Regency properties — for the nominal price of $1.
“Poloncarz should drop his foolhardy plans for a $500 million convention center on Delaware Avenue — which will cost Erie County taxpayers millions of dollars every year in operating costs and debt repayment,” Ricchiazzi argues.
“We are not a competitive destination in the convention industry and it would prohibitively expensive for this community’s tax base to build the infrastructure that we would need to become competitive,” he explains. “And if we did spend that billion dollars, we’d still have to overcome the constraints of a short summer season and a lackluster national reputation.”
Instead of doubling down and “throwing good money after bad” he wants Erie County to exit the convention business altogether.
Douglas Jemal, the owner of Douglas Development, has invested in a slew of high-profile properties in downtown Buffalo including renovating the City’s tallest skyscraper. He has committed to renovating the Statler Hotel, which was the largest hotel in the United States when it opened.