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The Buffalo News (New York)


An Arizona-based developer has expressed interest in building a multipurpose events center on a vacant 47-acre site in the City of Tonawanda, officials said Tuesday.

International Coliseums Co. of Scottsdale, Ariz., has proposed a 5,000- to 6,000-seat facility that could accommodate hockey, high school sports, concerts, trade shows, conferences and other uses, said 4th Ward Councilman Timothy J. Toth.

The land is the shovel-ready Spaulding Commerce Park, formerly the Spaulding Fibre manufacturing site, which underwent a $20.6 million, 8½-year cleanup that was completed in 2012.

"It could be an economic generator," Toth said. "The important thing is, we have someone with an interest in the area and the property. It's something that could potentially be a big tax generator for the city."

Still, Toth and Mayor Rick Davis cautioned that the proposal is still in its very early stages, with Davis saying the idea is in the "first mile of a marathon."

Toth presented a "letter of understanding" to the Common Council, and the Council agreed to have the city attorney review it before the Council's next meeting. If city officials sign the letter, the developer would bring in its architect for an economic-feasibility study and preliminary designs.

In addition to a 120,000-square-foot events center, the project could include 20,000 square feet of space for community events, a conference center hotel, retail and restaurants.

The hope is that the events center would become the home of an Ontario Hockey League franchise and an NCAA Division I hockey team, Toth said. Don Luce Hockey would lead those efforts, according to the letter. The events center could also host religious gatherings, festivals, rodeos and equestrian events.

Toth said Rick Kozuback, president of International Coliseums, first visited the site seven years ago, before the industrial property was remediated. After he was elected last year, Toth said, he reached out to Kozuback and explained that the site was available, with underground utilities and roads in place. Kozuback visited again in early spring and met with Toth and Davis.

"He feels it's a good location and could be a good economic generator for the area," Toth said. "They have a good track record of building these types of places all across the country."

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November 16, 2016


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