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Category: news

09/22/05 06:45 - 76ºF - ID#28178

Blue Cross Building article

[size=s][c]I read this article in the Buffalo News today. It is interesting but may become a changing story since I belive there is or was a vote today. I admit i'm not sure what I think of how the new building is supposed to look. I have seen the facade up close and I think a better idea would have been to bulid of the facadand make that part of the building in old style then connect it all togather in side. The picture they had in the news looks odd. The picture at the dig site looks odd to it looks the the facade will still look like a facade when the building is complete.[/c][/size]

Beauty or beast? Beholders differ on new architectural creation

Design of BlueCross BlueShield's next home strikes some as suburban intrusion into classic cityscape

News Staff Reporter

The first privately funded building in downtown Buffalo in well over a decade would keep more than 1,300 employees in the city and clean up a brownfield.
One might expect some excitement.

But in some circles, people are concerned that in a city known for buildings designed by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, the new headquarters for BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York will look like just another suburban office park.

The architect, though, envisions a landmark building that melds Buffalo's past with its future.

At the heart of the controversy is a modern glass and concrete design that has a 60-foot stone facade, the sole remnant from the Gas Works factory of 1848, in the foreground.

The project has received approval from the city's Planning Commission, but it still faces a vote from the Preservation Board today. Although that board's vote is nonbinding, a thumbs down could put the matter before the Common Council.

"I think people will be poking fun at it for decades to come. I think it will be a new Buffalo punch line," said Cynthia Van Ness, president of the Preservation Coalition of Erie County and a member of the Buffalo Preservation Board.

Preservation Board member Sam Gurney, however, thinks the building will be a wonderful addition to downtown.

"The design fits very well with the city," Gurney said. "I think it blends the old with the new."

The dominant feature is a 350-foot-long curved glass front on the southern portion of the building, facing Lake Erie.

"The main presentation of the skyline [from the Niagara Thruway] is going to be this building. It's a behemoth," said architect Matt Maier of Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects.

Christopher F. Guerra of the Preservation Board sees the building making a valuable contribution. "Overall, I think it's going to be not a landmark structure, but a nice-looking structure," he said.

The sprawling, L-shaped complex includes an eight-story tower, a six-story operations building and seven-story atrium linking the two, plus a 1,500-space parking garage connected by bridges to the main building.

The $86.3 million project by HealthNow New York, the parent company of BlueCross BlueShield, marks the largest private office building to be built in Buffalo since the Key Towers were built in Fountain Plaza in the late 1980s.

Architect Steven R. Risting of CSO Schenkel Shultz, and Duke Realty Corp., the building's developer and owner, both of Indianapolis, have partnered on mostly suburban projects in the Midwest.

Architect defends design

Risting said the HealthNow New York corporate headquarters was designed to be a "distinctive landmark" building that is also sustainable and energy-efficient.

"We chose to be a modern, 21st century building, with a respect for the historic architectural and urban design legacy of Buffalo," Risting said.

He rejects the notion his design resembles a suburban office building.

"That's where you get into the variety of opinion concerning what architecture is," Risting said. "The level of detail that is being put into this building you're not going to find out in the suburbs. It is a building that I think is of Buffalo, that references Buffalo, and is of this site."

One challenge was to integrate the 19th century landmark stone wall with a 21st century building. Risting said that it was not used as a prime entry, as some assumed it would be, because the factory wall never served that purpose. Instead, the wall is connected to the main building, with a second-floor terrace behind it.

"One of the most surprising things to me about that facade is how much it was lacking in window openings," Risting said. "It was an exquisitely detailed garden wall, and we've kind of treated it as a garden wall."

Some critics say the facade looks like a fish out of water.

Matthew Moscati of TRM Architect is disappointed in how the wall is used, and with the project as a whole.

"My impression of the building is that the design is an opportunity lost," Moscati said.

Guerra, who is also an architect with Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects, said Risting did well with a difficult task.

"It's not an easy thing to design around a piece of history like that," Guerra said.

Risting said many of his decisions were meant to pay homage to Buffalo's classic architecture.

A reference to Buffalo's brick Great Northern grain elevator, for instance, was made by the use of a vertical shaft of bricklike concrete. It intersects the horizontal mass of glass meant to suggest the lake, Risting said.

A connection to Larkin

Likewise, the building's use of daylight and places for interaction are meant to mimic Wright's Larkin Administration Building, demolished in Buffalo a half-century ago, he said.

For some, those connections are too general or elusive.

Maier, for instance, likes the grain elevator tie-in. "Anything else is rather simplistic," he said.

"I don't see the references [Risting] said are there," Van Ness said.

Several Preservation Board members also complained that the self-contained site would not be urban- or pedestrian-friendly. Risting was asked to address some of the board's concerns at today's meeting.

"My biggest disappointment with the building is the insensitivity to the street and the pedestrian. It really isn't an urban building; it has a suburban office feel to it," Guerra said.

Risting said he believes that many of the criticisms will cease if there is more development west of City Hall.

"The comments are in reference to it being a detached building," Risting said. "Hopefully, the city can continue to grow to meet the building so it isn't so isolated."

BlueCross BlueShield's new quarters are expected to be ready for occupancy in August 2007. That is a few months before the company must vacate its current headquarters at 1901 Main St., next to Canisius College.

But first, the site is being remediated for coal tar and benzene, remnants of when the site was used to convert coal into gas.

Dennis T. Gorski, former Erie County executive and now BlueCross BlueShield's vice president of government programs, says the company's decision to invest in the site will pay great dividends for Buffalo.

"We are remediating a site that was contaminated, we are preserving a facade and we are bringing in close to 1,300 employees," Gorski said.

Point, counterpoint

Risting said he believes that the building will eventually take its place alongside Buffalo's architectural treasures.

"I've read where past buildings here were criticized for being too bold, too modern, and those buildings have gone on to become landmarks, as places of excellence," Risting said.

"Whether you like it or not, I guess, it will turn your head. That's good architecture."

Van Ness isn't so sure.

"It always amazes me that out-of-town architects first come here and gush about our architectural heritage," she said, "and then deliver designs that clash with everything around them."



Words: 1289
Location: Buffalo, NY

09/21/05 08:28 - 75ºF - ID#28177

first e:peep

I meet my first (e:peep) yesterday outside of Spot on Elmwood. Ladycroft is a very interesting person. I did enjoy myself. I do admit I did get a little distracted a few times there is a lot of activity on Elmwood but I did enjoy myself. I wish I would have thought to bring my camara glad Timika brought hers. I'm going to have to try and upload some pictures again. The ones I downloaded from toronto arn't being actepted they are some unexcepted format but I downloaded them the way I normally do. I got an Idea.


Ok the picture of ladycroft works so it must something on my end and not (e:strip). Hopefully I'll figure it out in a couple days. I tryed publish and I get a message that it needs to have and ending like jpg and it does not sure what is going on now sometthing funky.

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Words: 156
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: travel

09/19/05 07:32 - 76ºF - ID#28176


I went to the Blue Jays game on sunday and they beat the Yankees. It was a good game. Afterwords we went to the Hardrock Cafe at Skydome now known as rogers centre. On the way we got a little lost. One minute the lane we where in changed into a two lane exsit out of no whare odd. So we drove through Brampton, Hamilton and Oakville. Then found our way back onto the 403 i think and then the 401 in any event a quicker way to Toronto. There where some amazing looking houses in oakville. I wish I would have thought to take some pictures of that but I was busy looking for signs but it was an interesting diversion.

Here are some pictures from Toronto and the hard rock cafe. I hope they look ok since I had to shirnk them. I also found it odd that there was an ad in the mens bathroom. If I would have been in there alone I would have like to take a picture of it. About 6 minutes till the two Monday night football games start.

I tried to upload pics but It gave me some message about them not being and excepted file type. That is odd in any event I had fun and will try to post them later.

Words: 219
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: news

09/17/05 03:49 - 71ºF - ID#28175

Casino Article

This article was in the Buffalo News today. I got it from there website and included the two pictures in the article below it. If you are for the casinos then you might find this article interesting. Even if you think one more downtown casino is a bad idea then you may want to read about it.

Area casinos up the ante

Growth of gaming facilities around the falls creates competition to attract clientele


Click to view larger picture

Charles Lewis/Buffalo News
Casino Niagara bartender Matt Jones does some fancy bottle juggling in front of some of the 26 high-definition TV screens featuring global sports events.

Click to view larger picture

The casino wars on both sides of the border have begun. Let the chips fall where they may.
Four casinos already are taking wagers in the Buffalo Niagara region and a fifth is expected to open by 2007 in Buffalo. As they grow and mature, they will need to take on their own identities to develop and protect their markets, gambling experts say.

The region's first casino - Casino Niagara, built in 1996 in Niagara Falls, Ont. - is a case in point.

On Friday, it unveiled its new look: a $10 million (U.S.) sports betting lounge, poker room, two new bars and classic blues-style restaurant.

The casino opened its wallet to compete with the hugely successful, year-old Fallsview Casino Resort on nearby Murray Hill.

A new hotel also will bolster Casino Niagara. The DiCienzo family, which owns Canadian Niagara Hotels, recently said it would build a 59-story hotel next door.

Meanwhile, hotel development continues to flourish alongside the Fallsview. Canada's DiCosimo family, which owns the Hospitality Hotels chain, plans to extend its Hilton Hotel opposite that casino to 58 stories.

On the American side, Seneca Niagara Casino will open the first 10 floors, including 300 rooms and three restaurants, of a 26-story, $200 million-plus hotel on New Year's Eve. Two more hotels also are planned near the Seneca Niagara.

The Seneca Allegany Casino, which opened in Salamanca in May 2004, will begin construction of an 11-story, 220-room hotel before the end of the year.

In Buffalo, the Seneca Nation will announce this month the downtown location for a 120,000-square-foot casino. No hotel has been mentioned so far in any of the Buffalo casino negotiations, but gambling experts say they won't be surprised to see one, or more, nearby in the years go come.

"If the clientele is purely local, you're just picking your own pocket," explained William N. Thompson, a University of Nevada professor who specializes in the gambling and hospitality industry. "Casinos are only healthy for the local economy if you bring in people from outside."

More hotel rooms

It helps to have a Wonder of the World in your neighborhood. The two skyscraper hotels that will rise on the Ontario side in the next two years will add 850 rooms to the more than 16,000 that already exist for the 10 million people who visit the falls every year from around the world.

Niagara Falls, Ont., Mayor R.T. "Ted" Salci sees the number of visitors doubling in the next five years, particularly with a new advertising campaign targeting the Asian market.

"In mainland China, you have 30 million people on the move each year," Salci said. "The potential here is so great I don't see a limit at the moment on the number of hotel rooms we can have."

The Seneca Niagara Casino hotel, when fully opened in March, will add 600 rooms on the American side. "The new hotel will strengthen our impact on the local economy by allowing us to aggressively market our property to individuals from around the world," said Philip J. Pantano, Seneca Niagara's public relations manager.

Casino Niagara, in going ahead with what general manager Drew Chamberlain calls a "drastic" makeover, recognizes the international appeal of the Fallsview Casino Resort and plans instead to aggressively go after a more regional market from Hamilton to Buffalo.

If this were a game of Texas Hold 'em, the Buffalo casino would be the all-important river card - the fifth community card dealt face-up - the make-it-or-break-it card, where a player can win or "drown at the river."

With the gambling pot growing bigger, is there a chance Buffalo will drown at the river?

No way, the experts say.

A sure thing

The local population alone - people living within a 50-mile radius or an hour's drive - could easily support five casinos in the Buffalo Niagara region, Thompson said.

"If you bring in people from outside that ring, you could double the number of casinos and hotels in the area before you reach any kind of saturation point," he said. "If you include patrons from Toronto, you could triple that number."

With five casinos, the Buffalo Niagara region would rank 10th nationwide among cities with the highest concentration of casinos, far behind Las Vegas, with 84 casinos, but not too far behind Atlantic City's 12, Lake Tahoe's 10 and the nine in Tunica, Miss., and beating the Detroit-Windsor area by one.

Niagara Falls, Ont., is by far the region's leader. Since opening at the base of the Clifton Hill tourist district, the three-story Casino Niagara has seen 68 million patrons pass through its doors and taken in millions of dollars in revenue, said Chamberlain.

When the 30-story Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort opened, attracting entertainment stars and high rollers, Casino Niagara felt the competition.

Both casinos are owned by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., an agency of the provincial government, and operated by Falls Management Co., a private outfit, but they still compete for patrons by carving out a particular niche.

Gambling revenue and patrons at both casinos continue to increase every year, with a combined take of $129 million (U.S.) for the first quarter of this year, said Teresa Roncon, the gambling corporation's manager of public relations.

The new look Casino Niagara features a wall of 26 high-definition TV screens beaming in global sports events, a ticker tape with the latest scores and results, and Canada's only wagering facility covering all sports, including horse racing.

The Senecas own both Western New York casinos, and will own the one in Buffalo, too. Like the provincial government in Ontario, their challenge will be to make sure the casinos are different enough to maintain financial stability.

Flagship in the Falls

"In terms of size, the Seneca Niagara Casino and hotel will continue to be the flagship of the three properties," Pantano said. "Each of the properties, however, will have its own distinctive personality, which will diversify what we have to offer."

Niagara Falls has a high-limit gambling room and Salamanca does not, Pantano said. He said other changes will occur as the Seneca casinos continue to evolve.

Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel announced Friday it's embarking on an aggressive hiring campaign to fill 1,000 jobs at the new hotel, adding to the 2,400 people already working there, and the 850 in the Salamanca operation.





Words: 1169
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: photos

09/16/05 08:02 - 69ºF - ID#28174


Here are some nature pictures from a camp outside of springvile called dufferton or something like that. If I had the info infront of me I could list there website.













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Words: 54
Location: Buffalo, NY

09/13/05 08:24 - 77ºF - ID#28173

No Voice

Lately I havn't really been fealling political at all. I read A post my paul and jason about the pretests and even one article in the buffalo news and didn't really have any strong feallings about it. Yeah some of my football teams like the bills, steelers and 49ers won wich is cool but isn't much to write about. Hopefully I will see some cause or something to write about. I have basicly said everything I could about Katrina. Sorry I missed the party it really looked like a lot of fun. Sunday it is back to toronto for another Jay's game. Maybe I will be inspired to write but mostly I've just been reading.
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Words: 115
Location: Buffalo, NY

09/10/05 11:06 - 64ºF - ID#28172

dagger Blue

Blue Friday was fun. I ran into some people I know. That dosn't happen to often. It turned out to be a lot more about Music then The Bills. Universal Grill where ok and so was Milk Fat they both played before the bills hit the stage. They had some of the bills lengands. But the players they brought up where guys from line the offensive line my buddy told me they where the back ups. I don't care if the bills had practice we want to see starters or guys we Know Moulds , Evans, McGahee, Losman, Somebody we know. There where a lot of sponsers and huge billboards the bills could have changed practice times so that we could see some one who we have heard of. Steve Tasker was there and spoke he was good. After words Klear Played. They where good but the new singer who is verry good gives them a completely differant sound. Around 9pm The Juliet Dagger hit the stage and they where very good as they always are. There seems to always be something (I find) funny on the stage and there was again but I don't know how to explain it. Hopefully I will make the party to night and hopefully I will bring something to drink but no promises.
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Words: 218
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: football

09/08/05 06:40 - 73ºF - ID#28171

The Raiders

Tonight the NFL starts with the Raiders Vs. The Patriots. I Will be taping The OC, and Reunion on fox. I would love if the Raiders could win. One I am a Raiders fan and it would techniquly put the Pats in last place. Before the game there is entertainment I think it is the Rolling Stones, Green Day, Kanye West and not sure who else. That is at 8pm and the game is supposed to start around 9pm. Then you have Blue Friday tommarow and then on Sunday the Bills start. I'm so sorry the summer is almost over. But I love Football season. Hopefully the Bills and some ot the other teams I like have great seasons.

Words: 119
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: news

09/08/05 06:29 - 73ºF - ID#28170

Katrina article

For those of you who like artvoice and even those that think it is a shit rag there is a good article on Katrina. For only being a few pages I think it is very good. It does touch on racial isssues, funding, Bush, FEMA, and an interesting fact that there where buses but they where running on a sunday schedulle and that there where plenty of buses to get out the poor. In any event I think it would make an interesting read.

Words: 84
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: war

09/07/05 07:33 - 78ºF - ID#28169

Over there

First of all to everyone who commentend on Elmwood and its spreeding to grant st thank you. If I got you pissed offJason sorry about that. I may have more thoughts about elmwood later. For those of you that can tell I like TV shows and Movies. I like them for the same reason as people who read books for the stories. Plus some sex and action also. I admit I think war is awfull and I wish we could avoid it. I think our current war in Iraq is pointless. We are spending money that we could be using to help the poor in our own country and fixing a lot of problems this country has. For example New Orleans. But I have to admit I like war shows like China Beach, and Band of Brothers. But right now I'm really into overthere. It is on FX on Wendsday nights at 10pm. It may conflict with South Park when the new episodes come on. I think it is good that there is a TV show that covers the war that is going on, at the same time that the war is going on. I know that has happenend before but not in a long time. I skiped the last Conseravative show kinda tired and There is going to be a lot of work to do on thursday I would rather relax watching overthere and then go to blue friday on friday. I think over there has some interesting characters and tells the story in an interesting view.
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Words: 258
Location: Buffalo, NY

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New Site Wide Comments

sina said to paul
Well done, i like your kindness

sina said to paul
Nice job...

paul said to sina
Your food always looks so good....

tinypliny said to tinypliny
The footwork is SO fancy!...