The summer of Inner Harbor ultimatums continues. HSBC Bank wants the City to agree to transferring title to the Webster Block at the foot of Main Street by Thursday or the bank will pull out of downtown. The bank, which has been studying its options for when its lease at One HSBC Center expires in 2013, is reportedly eyeing a relocation to new space at the foot of Main Street. If rumors hold true, the bank would construct a building on a parking lot it owns behind its Atrium office building, plus take space planned in a mixed-use Webster Block development.
The Buffalo Common Council must approve of the land transfer and has been reluctant to sign-on to a deal put together by Mayor Brown and Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation officials. This afternoon in a special session called by the mayor, the Council voted 5-4 to table the sale of the property. At stake is 4,000 HSBC jobs downtown.
WIVB has the news:
According to Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader Rich Fontana, the executive vice president of HSBC North America told him Tuesday morning that if a deal is not struck by Thursday, "we're out."
Buffalo Niagara Partnership President and CEO Andrew Rudnick would not comment to Senior Correspondent Rich Newberg on a Thursday deadline.
He told Newberg, the transfer "needs to be done, we need to do everything we can to show any perspective investor and tenant in the canal side project that we are welcoming them, and doing everything we can to facilitate a positive decision."
Rudnick went on to say, "Major investment opportunities in the country and our community are few and far between, given economic conditions."
Fontana says the internal process of decision making at HSBC will happen this week.