With the opening of 716, and all of the hoopla surrounding the First Niagara Center, Pugulaville, Canalside, etc, I couldn’t help but do a little brainstorming during my last visit to this section of the waterfront.
Have you ever taken a close look at the HSBC Atrium Building located across from the arena? It’s more reminiscent of a mall that you might find in Niagara Falls or Toronto, than a bank office building. It’s really kind of neat, and if you’ve ever been on the inside, you know that the interior is lit with natural light (obviously). The building is rather sizable, and lends itself to being a vanilla box for all sorts of ideas.
To me, the HSBC Atrium is a building with tons of potential, that is unfortunately not being utilized. I am aware that in 2013 HSBC announced that it was putting a significant amount of money into restoring the atrium building, but it is not clear if those investments were made to solely accommodate transitions from the HSBC Tower, or if the money was utilized for updates to the structure itself.
Regardless, it seems to me that there would be an opportunity to create a better synergy between this building and the developments that are taking place all around it.
What if another building was to be constructed that would accommodate all of the needs of HSBC, and the atrium building could be dedicated to shops and restaurants? I am aware that this is a farfetched idea, but to me this building is loaded with potential for public over private use. I am not sure if HSBC has already made all of the investments into the building ($35 million between this building and the Depew operations center according to Business First), but with all of the underutilized surface lots in the area, you would think that a plan could be hatched to build another structure that could house the bank’s operations, and still dedicate the ground floor of the new building to retail. That would free up the atrium building for a retrofit, for more practical purposes.
Maybe this is something that the Pegulas could pose to HSBC, along with the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation. You would think that the Pegulas would be able to easily incorporate a building of this nature, in such close proximity to their other significant investments, into their future operation plans. I would think that businesses would clamor to be in a building of this nature, with so many other incredible assets nearby. The atrium building would create needed density for public amenities that are not currently found in the district.
You never know – this could turn out to be a win-win for HSBC, Pegulaville and Canalside.