Bass Pro to open Buffalo superstore

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops said yesterday it plans to open a superstore on Buffalo's waterfront, spending $57 million to convert the vacant Memorial Auditorium into a 250,000 square-foot store – the third-largest in the company’s chain – the Syracuse Post-Standard reported in a story today.

The store will be part of a project that will also include a hotel, restaurant and museum. Bass Pro plans to offer boating demonstrations and guided fishing trips on Lake Erie, the newspaper reported.

"When Bass Pro comes to a town, they don't just open a store, they change a town," said Gov. George Pataki, who was among a host of elected officials who joined Bass Pro executives for the announcement, according to the newspaper.

The city has been courting the chain for more than two years as a way to boost tourism and inspire development along the waterfront that skirts the city's downtown.

"This announcement has been a long time coming," Bass Pro Shops President Jim Hagale said. "We're part of a grand plan, and we're grateful we're able to participate."

The store, expected to open in late 2007, is projected to attract 3 million to 5 million visitors a year to a city where few major retailers have a downtown presence. It is expected to employ about 400 people.

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