Develop outer harbor, build stadium elsewhere
Big projects mean big contracts for building groups. When viewed this way, it would seem that supporting an outer harbor stadium would be a no-brainer for construction worker unions. However, it would be wise for unions to consider the long-term implications of an outer harbor stadium and not just focus on the short-term increase in construction jobs fueled by the project.
Ignoring the contentious economic development merits of football stadiums, wherever we decide to build a new stadium, it will be a huge project and increase the need for construction workers in the short term. In most cities, waterfront land is extremely valuable and attractive for development. This is equally true in Buffalo. Compared to other areas of Buffalo, the outer harbor needs the least support in becoming a viable, exciting, economic growth-generating hub. If construction worker unions are serious about the welfare of their members, they’ll recognize that building an outer harbor stadium would be a misallocation of scarce redevelopment resources. Utilizing waterfront land for diverse, sustainable, long-term development projects would be much more effective than building a stadium.
By not building the stadium on the outer harbor, the harbor can leverage its natural assets for other purposes to help generate economic growth in Buffalo both in the short term and long term. This economic growth would presumably cause new construction benefiting current and future construction workers. Furthermore, the growth in construction employment that the stadium would cause could then occur in another part of the city as a component of revitalization projects in areas with fewer assets.
Daniel P. Pellegrino