Whether you are for or against the idea, the idea of a grand stadium on the waterfront of Buffalo has to at least make you stop and wonder. It makes you dream of what our city was, and what it could be. Personally, I have been an advocate of the idea for years. I went to high school in downtown Buffalo during the early 1990’s, and saw firsthand the condition of the city. When the Chippewa district developed around the site of my high school, it was the first positive sign that Buffalo could make a comeback. That development happened because of private investors and businessmen. It was great to see economic development in my city.
Now we have a proposal by one Nicholas Stracick, a private businessman who hails from Buffalo. If you are like me, you never heard of him. Tuesday’s presentation gave Mr. Stracick immediate fame in Buffalo, as he presented a plan to move Buffalo into the 21st Century by helping to develop its waterfront. But who is Nicholas Stacick, and why would he invest his own money into the planning and design of a stadium without contacting the Buffalo Bills, the professional sports team who would one day call his palace home? Why would he invest money before making a preliminary presentation before the City of Buffalo or Erie County Executive to first gain their approval?
ABCNews.com reported that Nicholas Stracick was awarded $204 million dollars from Disney, after filling suit for fraud, theft of trade secrets, breaking an implied contract and breaching a confidential relationship. Apparently Nicholas Stracick, Edward Russell and their company, All Pro Sports Camps, filed suit claiming they had initial conversations with Disney regarding building a sports themed resort at Disney World Florida. Again, reportedly he had initial conversations. Disney moved forward without the two, and a suit was filed claiming that Disney stole the idea. The article does not state that any contract between Disney or All Pro Sports Camps was ever entered into, just that the two businessmen claimed after approximately 200 phone calls, Disney used their design and moved forward with the project without them. A jury agreed that Disney stole their ideas.
On Tuesday, Nicholas Stracick, now using a business name Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Complex, LLC, presented a plan to the Buffalo Common Council for a new waterfront stadium. They presented renderings and a plan to drive business to Buffalo’s waterfront. My question is simply this: if the City of Buffalo, Erie County, or the Buffalo Bills ever decide to build a complex on the waterfront, without utilizing the group Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Complex, LLC, could the group claim damages because they offered an “Initial design”? According to a jury in Florida, we need to review this very carefully.
I have done my own research on the waterfront, suggesting ways to change traffic patterns and to bring people and vehicles to this undeveloped land. I do it because I want to see my city grow and prosper. I truly believe that the City of Buffalo needs to tread very carefully with this design idea, and consult council before recommending or endorsing this plan. Presenting a design and an idea should not become grounds for future damages, unless a contract is entered into.