11/23/07 09:07 - 23ºF - ID#42265
11/23/07 10:04 - 25ºF - ID#42258
[box] Out-of-staters lured by quality, low price
By Mark Sommer NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Updated: 11/23/07 7:42 AM
Bill Wippert/Buffalo News
Elmwood Avenue is on a lot of radar screens.
It can be measured by new local businesses and particularly, interest from out-of-state investors.
Justin Azzarella of the Elmwood Village Association says some of the attention stems from being named one of the "10 great neighborhoods in America" by the American Planning Association in October.
"The amount of interest in the Elmwood Village, and this street, is huge," said Azzarella, the group's executive director.
Susie Lenahan, a real estate broker in MJ Peterson's new downtown office, concurs.
"The New York-Boston-Philadelphia- Washington, D.C.-type investor just can't believe how inexpensive the prices are here. They're seeing the buzz about Elmwood, and Elmwood has never looked better," Lenahan said.
A New York investment company has bought the Elmwood building that houses Ujima theater and the former Jimmy Mac's and Chef's Deli. Commercial property along Bryant Street, west of Elmwood, was purchased by a Boston company.
The popular shopping district, which is in a continual state of flux, continues to have vacant properties, but some hard-to-rent spaces have recently been leased. For example:
> Elmwood Market will open in the former DVD Dot storefront near North Street. Groceries, frozen foods, deli items and made-to-order subs are among the expected offerings, along with an outdoor patio and free deliveries to seniors.
Latina's, a supermarket on the same block in Stuyvesant Plaza, closed in April.
"This area is so vibrant, and we really want to be part of this new Buffalo," said Alex Alarshi, co-owner with Dale Ali.
> Village Beer Merchant, locating in the former Chef's Deli, will offer upper-end and specialty beers, as well as a deli counter and pastas.
> Bryant Street Cake Co., 291 Bryant St., will be housed in the former home of the old Buffalo Rome restaurant.
> Hunt Real Estate, at Elmwood and Breckenridge, will open a store for sales and rentals in 2008, allowing window shopping for a new home.
> Evans National Bank will go into the current Elmwood Taco & Subs, which is moving a few doors down to take over a former Burger King space.
> Pano's has received city approval for an expanded, twostory building, with a groundbreaking expected in early spring.
> Bank of America will relocate from Utica Street to an Elmwood storefront vacated almost two years ago by Pier 1 Imports. The bank, which is expected to open in the spring, will have a "faux second floor," a compromise worked out between the bank and the association.
"It's going to look like a twostory building, with the ability to build out if the bank should ever leave," Azzarella said.
Bel Cibo, which means good food in Italian, opened earlier this month on Elmwood Avenue near Bidwell Parkway.
> The plaza where Bank of America currently resides, next door to a recently closed Eckerd's drug store, will become a surface parking lot for staff of Women and Children's Hospital.
That decision has drawn a cool response from the association. "Surface parking is not a positive for an urban environment," Azzarella said.
> Bel Cibo, a casual, Italian- American restaurant, opened earlier this month in a location vacated 2z years ago by Sofra, a Turkish restaurant. It's best known for housing the longtime Soda Bar & Pastry Co. The owners are Marty Palame and Buck Kaber, who also own Mode at Elmwood and Utica.
> The eclectic gift store Neo recently relocated near Elmwood and Utica from its longtime home on Allen Street.
> Firebrand, a sneaker boutique, has opened on Elmwood near Breckenridge.
To boost holiday shopping, the Elmwood Village Association is distributing 46,000 guides about the commercial strip in subscription-based mailings in southern Ontario and Western New York. Canadian shoppers have been pouring into the Niagara Frontier because of the decline of the U.S. dollar.
"There's been a really big uptick in Canadian shoppers," Azzarella said.
A much wider distribution - as many as 300,000 pieces - is planned for the spring.
Already I feel that Elmwood is not what it used to be. Many of my favorite businesses are gone. Pier 1 although a chain was somewhere I could enjoy going to, but a bank I have very little interest in. I feel that the banks already here more than suit my needs. I don't have to wait too long when going to the teller. Same thing with a real estate office. I love the space that they are moving into where Feel Rite used to be. Now it will become absolutely useless to me and many other city residents. Increased traffic could considerably change commute times for everyone. To me the thought of economic growth is exciting, but it concerns me that residents may not be able to take advantage of the growth. I really just hope that our interests are not sold out to outside investors.
11/22/07 11:14 - 28ºF - ID#42252
11/14/07 06:37 - 54ºF - ID#42123
I'm not for prohibition, but I think cigarette advertising should be illegal, and that the manufactures not be permitted to add anything to the tobacco leaf. This is a major crisis in our country and in the world. New York State's goal by the way is to reduce smoking prevalence from 19% to 12% by 2010. It is a lofty goal, but I believe it is a good one.
11/07/07 07:01 - 36ºF - ID#42031
My dreams are on fire.
Today at work I asked where a guy was from and he said Cuba. I said oh your Cubano and he was like "yeah, why do you say it like that?" Then he was all mad cause I told him I had been there. He started yelling at me in English and asked me if I liked Communism or if I was in love with Fidel. He was definitely interested in why I went to Cuba and he was surprised that I spoke in Spanish the way that I do for only having been there for four months. I told him that I hardly knew it at all when I had went, but that I have been working on it and now I work on this bilingual line and get to practice. So overall it was a good conversation, but a reminder of the ways things are. I love getting to ask people what country they are from. Usually they are from PR, but rarely Cuba.
I took the bus tonight home from work. This is the first time since I have started working there because I have been riding my bike because of our extended summer. It was a pretty good experience and some lady even gave me .50 because I couldn't get any change for the bus in the gift store. Was all good timing because by the time I walked to the end of Allen I only had to wait a couple of minutes before the bus pulled up. I even got off the phone a tad late with the Cuban guy, so at least I know that is OK to be a few minutes over.