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Buffalo Developer Mark Croce Was Asked to Open Restaurant For Canalside Project | News

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Buffalo Developer Mark Croce Was Asked to Open Restaurant For Canalside Project

BUFFALO, NY(WGRZ) -- Not too long ago, Mark Croce was asked by the head of the Canalside project whether he'd be interested in opening a new restaurant there.

Croce, who already has his hands full building a boutique hotel downtown, and bidding on the Statler Building, said it wouldn't make any sense for him if the new restaurant was simply going to take customers away from his existing places, which include the Chop House, D'Arcy McGee's, and Laughlin's downtown.

"We need something that's going to bring new people downtown, not just Buffalonians and shuffle them around," said Croce.

That something, Croce believes, is not a store whether it's Bass Pro, Ikea, or anyone else.

"My sense is a retailer is not going to be the driver of this district," said Croce.

Croce believes that for Canalside to be a success, it's going to need people, people that don't live in Western New York.

"We need to have a tourist attraction."

"Something that's going to bring out of towners."

"Bring new people, new money, new investment to Buffalo," said Croce.

So, what exactly should that be?

"I don't know what the answer is," says Croce.

The only things Croce says he does know is that not only does Canalside need tourists, but tourists who can come here year 'round, not just three months a year.

The renaissance of Baltimore's Inner Harbor started with a major league baseball stadium and a major league aquarium.

In Springfield, Illinois an interactive, high-tech Abraham Lincoln museum has sparked tourism there.

And in Atlanta, a world-class aquarium is drawing lots of out of towners.

Scott Brown: "People talk about that one silver bullet, but could it be that two or three bronze bullets might be better?"

Mark Croce: "From my perspective that may be the better way to go- to find a balance of a number of different concepts and ideas where maybe things would feed off each other, so instead of looking for that one big solution, as we learned with Bass Pro, you live and die by that."

Croce says one of those bullets could be a transportation museum that would incorporate the already-existing Pierce Arrow, Aerospace and Bicycle museums.

Croce says add to that another couple of tourist attractions, and he believes shops and stores, retailers and restaurants -- maybe even one of his own -- would follow.












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