A Canadian businessman and his local partners say they're still proceeding with plans to redevelop Buffalo's Central Terminal. Harry Stinson and his peers hosted a news conference at the East Side landmark Tuesday morning to offer their side of the story, two weeks after it was announced their developmental agreement would not be renewed.
Stinson Properties is seeking to acquire the Central Terminal and convert it into a mixed-use campus with offices, apartments and an entertainment element. A New York City-based company is among the prospective tenants. According to the Stinson team, that company wishes to establish a film studio within the Central Terminal.
Buffalo-based ROAR Logistics, a subsidiary of Rich Products, has also reportedly expressed interest in moving into the space.
"We have a daunting task ahead of us," said Doug Swift, one of Harry Stinson's partners in their project. "But we're excited about the progress we've made and the CTRC, we're still having productive conversations with them."
Stinson Properties has been in a developmental agreement with the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation, which currently holds the property, since last year. Earlier in the month, the CTRC announced it would not renew that agreement, which is scheduled to lapse on May 24, and instead pursue a comprehensive land use study to be conducted by Urban Land Institute.
Harry Stinson and his partners say they were caught entirely off guard by that announcement but are still talking and have been invited to "have a seat at the table" during the ULI study.
"I think the dust is already settling considerably," Stinson said. "The conversations have reopened yesterday and today."
But Stinson added that he'd like clarity and wonder who it was that decided to announce a break in the partnership, and why.
"There's no argument going on," he said. "It's been quite interesting trying to track down exactly what happened, because nobody seems to know."
No CTRC representatives were in attendance at Tuesday morning's news conference. WBFO attempted to contact one of the CTRC's board members but the call was not returned as of late Tuesday afternoon.
Stinson also spent time during the news conference explaining why he divested from the Hotel Niagara, a property in Niagara Falls he had acquired in 2011. After little work was done inside the property, it was sold to the USA Niagara Development Corporation in 2016. Stinson says he and his investors decided to sell when they learned of the request for proposals to redevelop Central Terminal.
"At the time we got the two offers for Hotel Niagara, the RFP came out here," Stinson said. "A lot of my investors were well aware of this because they saw the building."
The vote by those investors to divest from the Hotel Niagara and bid for Central Terminal, Stinson said, was unanimous.