Report: Canadian Consulate in Buffalo to Close | News
BUFFALO, NY - Canada is closing its consulate in Buffalo, according to a report posted on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) website Friday, putting 75 employees out of work and emptying HSBC Center of yet one more tenant.
Calling the Canadian consulate in Buffalo "one of Canada's largest and oldest diplomatic outposts in the United States," the CBC says that no official announcement has been made by the Canadian federal government yet, but that one is expected next week.
"The news can't be worse, and the timing can't be worse, said Craig Turner, Vice President of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. "The recession is ending. People are manufacturing. People are moving product. And the markets -- the Canadians want access to the U.S. Market and the U.S. Markets want access to the Canadian markets. The trade is at a fever pitch right now."
Buffalo's largest office building continues to lose occupants. The news comes on top of an announcement by HSBC Thursday that 77 Western New Yorkers employed in the 40-story building will be losing their jobs in the fall. The law firm of Phillips Lytle, another large tenant, is expected to move to the renovated Donovan building when it's ready for occupancy.
HSBC Center currently has 15 tenants, but HSBC occupies 78 percent of the 650,000 square feet of office space inside. The bank's lease expires in October 2013, leaving the future of the iconic high-rise -- and the entire downtown real estate market -- up in the air. As 2 On Your Side reported in April, the building could become a mixed-use building, featuring luxury housing.
The CEO of Seneca One Realty, owner of the tower, tells 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing that he has heard the CBC report, however he says the company has not received any official word from the tenant.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the consulate's closure would be bad for local businesses and for downtown real estate prices.
POLONCARZ: If you have this glut of open market space in a very short period of time, all of the other real estate space is going to have to reduce its cost as much.
REPORTER: Is this something that we're going to have to let the market sort itself out, or is there anything that can be done about it?
Poloncarz and the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership have begun pressing politicians from Washington to Albany to persuade the Canadians to reconsider.
Buffalo Niagara Partnership President and CEO Andrew Rudnick said in a statement: "For a community that is truly bi-national and relies heavily upon economic activity from both sides of the border, this could not be worse news. ... We already are advocating aggressively for the Buffalo Consulate, a key player in our bi-national region's economic growth, to remain open."
REPORTER: Do you think there is a chance you can stop this?
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