Buffalo Place booted from Canalside

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – One of the world’s largest venue management companies is moving in to Buffalo’s waterfront.

Canalside officials say the concerts, the kayaks, and the Adirondack chairs are all here to stay, but Global Spectrum, a company known for managing everything from presidential conventions to major sporting events, might be able to build on what’s coming to the waterfront.

Over the next couple years, $300 million in development will be completed at Canalside.

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) Chairman Robert Gioia said, “We better make this a world class destination for not only the community, but for the Northeast.”

With that thought in mind, the ECHDC decided to end its contract with Buffalo Place and go outside and hire Global Spectrum to manage Canalside.

Global Spectrum is based in Philadelphia and is part of the same group that owns the Philadelphia Flyers and runs Xfinity Live for the fans before the games. Global Spectrum manages more than 14,000 events every year and also manages more than a hundred convention centers around the country.

In Buffalo, they will get an annual operating budget of $1.7 million, and much of it is expected to paid for by the concessions generated from the canal ice rinks scheduled to open next winter at the old Aud site.

Global Spectrum will manage everything on the 20 acres at Canalside from who picks up the garbage to what events are held.

Regional Vice President Matthew Hollander said, “We’re not looking to make wholesale changes by any means. There’s been a long history of the concert series and we’ve already started a dialogue with Buffalo Place.”

Buffalo Place Executive Director Michael Schmand said, “We’re a little disappointed, bit disappointed, but if this is good for downtown, I’ll be honest with you, that’s what Buffalo Place is about, what’s good for downtown. And we had the opportunity to bid, they decided to go with a for-profit corporation that obviously brings a lot to the table.”

Global Spectrum formally received the contract on Monday, and is expected to hire at least 25 local full-time people, many of whom may be the same workers who were with Buffalo Place and helped put on the concerts and events at Canalside.

For the past three years, Global Spectrum has been running the Niagara Falls Conference Center and Old Falls Street. Mayor Paul Dyster says they have been great to deal with, and they do hire local people.

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