BUFFALO, NY-- A panel of six people from the Urban Land Institute outlined the realities of reconstruction and renovation costs, as well as the challenges and opportunities of the HSBC Tower once the majority of the tenants move out later this year.
They said the project cannot happen without a public-private partnership -- and although it will be quite an undertaking, doing nothing is not an option.
The panel agreed that the project needs to be mixed-use because there is a lot of space to fill in the 38-story, 851,000 square-foot tower.
HSBC, the Canadian Consulate and the Phillips Lytle Law Firm took up 90 percent of the space, but are either gone or leaving by the end of the year.
Previous suggestions included hotel space, condos, restaurants -- or mixed use.
The Institute said transforming the space could prove to be a challenge but it could be rewarding.
"The circumstances that the owners of this building face could be looked at not as a disaster, but as an opportunity. Because this is a great building and a great location and it probably needs to have some reinvestment now anyway," says Charles Long of the Urban Land Institute.
The panel said one thing that needs to be addressed is the fact that this will soon be a big mortgage without any tenants.
One suggestion was to bring in developer and real estate expert to help fill that space.