Finding a fit for the Broadway Auditorium

It’s easy to say that Buffalo has more than enough hockey rinks (we do). There are far too many youth programs and, for the most part, higher level teams are watered down because of this. However, there is a building on Buffalo’s near East Side that would serve brilliantly as a mid-sized hockey venue.

The Broadway Auditorium was originally built as an armory in the 1800s and was eventually expanded to its current size to accommodate for parade grounds and later, sporting events. This write-up from The Daily Public does a great job highlighting the tremendous sporting history of the Broadway Aud and making a case for the grand building to survive Byron Brown’s recent call to replace it.

Brown’s plan for replacing the structure isn’t without merit, as it would take an aging structure that lost a great deal of its beauty in recent years and replace it with a mixed-use development that would help towards the revitalization of the near East Side. The project would also help to better connect downtown to the East Side as other projects in recent years have.

In fact, McGuire Development is planning to fill in one of the city’s countless surface lots with a mixed-use development that’s just a mid-iron away from the Broadway Aud. The area around the property is picking up lately and rather than see a relic of Buffalo’s sporting past go the way of the landfill, why not find a way to revitalize it for the better?

One idea that was brought up to me in conversation was to build it out as an OHL-sized arena. The Aud previously held boxing matches – Joe Louis fought here – hockey games and many other sporting events. It’s a very good-sized building and has that old barn feel that’s been long forgotten with new rink construction. Continue reading

Buffalo Pipe Dream: Pucks and Conventions

Early in the summer – when the threat of a lockout was evident but not looming – I took the time to throw out a few big picture ideas for Buffalo. These ideas ranged from re-working the Cobblestone District to finding a place for a state-of-the-art aquarium on the Outer Harbor.

Swap out those graphics for ones promoting an OHL contest and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Now that the HARBORcenter project is well underway, the Junior Sabres and Canisius DI teams will have a new home with seating for 2,000 fans. I like to think that my original pipe dream story had something to do with this, but I’m not that naïve.

One piece of common knowledge is the Buffalo’s Convention Center is undersized, dated and incapable of attracting larger events that hit cities like Pittsburgh. The recent waterfront Bills stadium proposal had a new convention center worked into the plans and such a project would be interesting to see. However, I don’t think that a new convention center needs to accompany a Bills stadium project.

Certainly there are plenty of power brokers and decision makers in WNY who are well aware of the glaring need to upgrade the current Convention Center. An updated and modern convention center would help raise the overall profile and perception of the region. Finding a location and project to build a new Convention Center should be high on the priority list of many throughout Buffalo. Continue reading