With the death of owner Ralph Wilson on March 25, 2014, the Buffalo Bills faced the prospect of a new owner who would prefer to have the Bills in another city, such as Toronto or Los Angeles. Bidding procedures began in September, bringing forward such illustrious possibilities as Donald Trump, Jon Bon Jovi, Terry and Kim Pegula and Tom Golisano. It was rumored that Jon Bon Jovi and his colleagues had plans to move the team to Toronto, which he denied. Fans of the Bills were up-in-arms and radio stations refused to play Bon Jovi’s music.

       Buffalo Bills Football PlayerCredit: Google                          

                                                                Buffalo Bills Football Player

Fortunately, Terry and Kim Pegula came forward with the highest bid for the team - $1.4 billion, which was accepted by Ralph Wilson’s trust and by his wife Mary. The offer by the Pegulas must first be voted on in October by the other NFL owners before it becomes official. Fans are elated because the Terry and Kim Pegula have pledged to keep the team in Buffalo. They have substantial ties to the Buffalo area and have indicated their commitment and love for Buffalo and for the Buffalo Bills. A sign on a major highway appeared the day after Terry and Kim won the bid - it read: Pegulaville.

Terry Pegula is already the owner of the Buffalo Sabres Hockey Team which he purchased in 2011 for $189 million. He will not have to divest his ownership in the Sabres; there is no competition professionally with the Bills. Ownership of the Buffalo Bandits was also part of that deal. Pegula is a 63-year-old multi-billionaire who has made his fortune from natural gas development, real estate, entertainment concerns, and professional sports. Terry and Kim (who is South Korean) live in Boca Raton, Florida but also have a home in western New York. The couple has three children: Jessica, Kelly and Matthew, and Terry has two other children from a previous marriage: Michael and Laura.

In addition, Terry Pegula is investing in the revitalization of the city of Buffalo, which is viewed as a healthy sign. He has spent $172 million for the construction of the HarborCenter in downtown Buffalo near the waterfront, which will include ice rinks, a hotel, restaurants and retail centers.


Buffalo WaterfrontCredit: Wikimedia Commons

                                                                   Buffalo Waterfront

Buffalo’s revitalization rests on the success o three centers of economic activity - the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus, Canalside, and Larkinville.

The Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus is a unique partnership which has occurred whereby the University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Kaleida Health, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, and the Buffalo Medical Group Foundation are working in collaboration with the surrounding neighborhoods and the local government to cultivate a world-class medical campus in downtown Buffalo. In addition, Olmsted Center for Sight, Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center, Unyts (Upstate New York Transplant Services), and the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care have joined the collaboration. It is comprised of a medical center for health care, life sciences research and medical education institutions. Advancements in medicine are being made here every day and employment opportunities in the Health field are skyrocketing. Plans are in effect to provide new housing for those who find employment in the Medical Campus. Today, 12,000 people work on the Medical Campus. It is exploding with growth. It is expected that this will increase to 20,000 people. It is a huge undertaking, and one that will attract further development, including restaurants, dry cleaners, grocery stores and more. Canalside - There is something for everyone at Canalside - kayaking, ping pong, eating, watching the sunset in Adirondack chairs, and more.

Boat tours are popular for viewing the historic grain elevators which have been restored and lit up at night. The Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park is located at Canalside, showing exhibits, displays, and actual historic documents. Live music is featured every Thursday at Canalside, which brings in local and nationally known singers and bands. Buffalo’s $295 million waterfront development intends to recreate the city of Buffalo as the western terminus of the Erie Canal, which made it one of the country’s most important transportation and industrial centers in the early 20th century. Canada is less than a mile away, across the Peace Bridge. HarborCenter, the hockey complex financed by Terry Pegula, is directly across from Canalside and is included as part of the overall effort to improve the Buffalo waterfront.

   Larkin BuildingCredit: Google             

                                         Larkin Building Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Larkinville – This area is located at the former home of the Larkin Soap Company. One of its executives, Darwin Martin, was responsible for bringing Frank Lloyd Wright to Buffalo, who then designed the Larkin Building. Food trucks can now be seen in the area every Tuesday to feed the hungry visitors. The presence of Food Trucks in the city had originally caused dissension for being in competition with brick and mortar establishments, but they are now ruled as legal, and are welcomed by all. Parking is free. “Live at Larkin” Summer Concerts on Wednesday nights are also free. The Larkin Square Author Series is a collaboration between Larkin Square and Talking Leaves Books. Authors are featured once or twice a month from September through May at The Filling Station restaurant in Larkin Square. The series features local and national authors. Occasional guest speakers who are non-authors will offer suggestions of books that may be of interest to the audience. The Square at Larkinville, soon to be under construction, will bring new one- and two-bedroom apartments plus office space to Larkinville.

After decades of deterioration on our waterfront as well as in our residential areas, amid political wrangling which prevented any progress, Buffalo is finally seeing a new day, mostly through the efforts of Congressman Brian Higgins and Governor Andrew Cuomo, who saw a future for Buffalo which no one had previously envisioned.

Terry Pegula was also able to foresee a new Buffalo, to the point where he has already committed over $1.7 billion to revitalize our city. Now, with the NFL recommending a new stadium to replace the inadequate site in Orchard Park, fans are looking closely to the Pegulas for a possible modern facility that he would likely place near the HarborCenter complex in downtown Buffalo.

Against the Grain: The History of Buffalo's First Ward
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