Welcome to Buffalo Next. This newsletter from The Buffalo News will bring you the latest coverage on the changing Buffalo Niagara economy – from real estate to health care to startups. Read more at BuffaloNext.com.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK
A look ahead at what’s coming next and a quick read of news from the past week.
43North will open applications for its annual startup contest this week.
The Buffalo startup accelerator receives hundreds of applications from companies around the world for its annual contest, which started in 2014 as a way to attract and cultivate high-growth companies in Western New York.
43North leadership will share details on what’s ahead for this year’s program at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Seneca One lobby.
Changes are expected to this year’s finals event, which typically takes place in the fall at Shea’s Performing Arts Center where the final teams compete for eight spots in next year’s 43North cohort. Cohort companies must move their businesses to Buffalo for a year in exchange for a piece of the $5 million in prize money, mentorship and other support services from 43North staff.
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Macy’s at Boulevard Mall and Walden Galleria is supporting those affected by the Buffalo mass shooting by donating and raising money to benefit FeedMore WNY’s Emergency Response Fund. Through Tuesday, it will ask customers to round up their in-store purchase to the nearest dollar with those proceeds going toward providing food assistance to those in need following the recent tragedy. Macy’s also donated $20,000 to the fund.
The Buffalo branch store of Rochester-based roofing and building supply distributor B&L Wholesale Supply is getting so much business at 1 Bud Mil Drive that it needs more parking. B&L is seeking Buffalo Planning Board approval to add 78 parking spaces along the front of two single-story brick-and-metal buildings – 32 in one area, 46 in the other – along with a three-foot-tall masonry wall to shield the increased parking area on its 7.78-acre property. If approved, the $130,000 job will take two months.
Due to the Memorial Day holiday, the Planning Board will meet Tuesday afternoon, at which point it will also consider a special-use application by Jeff Ware’s Resurgence Brewing Co., which wants to open a beer garden with 10 picnic tables and four to six high-top tables at Parkside Lodge across from the golf concessions at Delaware Park. Resurgence would use part of the two-story building at 414 Parkside Ave., along with the patio and grass outside, and would sell canned beer, wine and cocktails, with finger foods and sandwiches. “This will provide a place in the park to enjoy a beer and bite,” Ware wrote.
Also on the board agenda, Seth Stromberg wants a permit to expand the outdoor patio at The Burning Buffalo at 1504 Hertel Ave. to accommodate 24 people, instead of 16. And Muhammad Miah of Central Park Jame Masjid Mosque is asking to temporarily expand the mosque at 97-99 Rodney Ave. with a 950-square-foot, single-story addition to accommodate the growing congregation, until it builds a 6,000-square-foot new mosque at 2279 Fillmore Ave.
University at Buffalo startup Arbol, a financial services company for low-income college students, is kicking off its micro-grants program with a June 2 fundraiser to introduce students who were able to stay in college with help from the service to potential benefactors who may wish to invest in student futures.
The “Graduating the Ungraduated” fundraiser is $100 per person and includes an open bar, appetizers, music and networking at Soho Buffalo, 64 W. Chippewa St., from 6 to 9 p.m. June 2. Students who have graduated thanks to Arbol will be on hand.
“Arbol” means “tree” in Spanish, and the company hopes to create a root system network of financial help to increase college graduation rates among low-income scholars, said co-founder David Gonzalez.
The company is offering “micro-grants” of $1,000 per semester to qualifying students who participate in its financial planning sessions. More info: growarbol.com.
CATCH UP ON LAST WEEK
Recent news tied to Buffalo Niagara’s economy
The Buffalo Together Community Response Fund will distribute $560,000 worth of grants, ranging in size from $5,000 to $20,000, to 70 Black-led organizations, as part of the fund’s initial response to a mass shooting at a Tops supermarket that killed 10 people.
The real estate firm owned and led by Dr. Fadi Dagher and his son, Kevin, is proposing to create a major manufacturing or warehouse building on Rano Street, with potentially up to 250,000 square feet of space for lease.
Developer Anthony LoRusso is proposing to construct a three-story apartment building on Clayton Street, with 66 small housing units and on-site parking.
FeedMore WNY will scale back its outdoor food distributions it has been holding on East Ferry Street since May 18 after a mass shooting closed the Tops Markets on Jefferson Avenue. The distributions will be fewer after May 28 as FeedMore WNY directs resources back to the 11 food pantries it stocks within a mile radius of the Jefferson Tops.
John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital is planning to spend nearly $6.7 million to open a high-risk maternity unit, which will include 12 newly constructed private inpatient rooms that would occupy about 11,000 square feet on the hospital’s seventh floor.
Dozens of small retailers across Erie County have applied for funds from the county’s $10 million Storefront Revitalization Initiative, an effort to help businesses spruce up their facades, in its first few weeks.
Cory Clark wants to open a microbrewery in Portville and County Line Recovery in Springville wants to construct a building for material recycling in Ashford. Both are seeking tax breaks from the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency.
Wyoming County Health System announced that David Kobis, a longtime health care executive and management consultant, will start May 31 as its new chief executive.
A vacant former office building on Pearl Street would become a mix of 12 apartments on the basement and upper two floors, plus first-floor commercial space.
Canisius High School plans to add a splashy “learning atrium” to its Delaware Avenue campus.
The Thruway Authority lost its bid in court to hold five contractors responsible for reported negligence in installing turbines at four highway exit locations in Western New York. It sought to recoup $8.1 million in damages, arguing that the machines did not perform as promised.
Unemployment dropped to a record low 3.6% for April across the Buffalo Niagara region last month, despite a slowdown in hiring as roughly 7,500 people from the local work force have been lost since the pandemic began.
Prolific Downtown Buffalo developer Douglas Jemal has agreed to buy the former Curtiss Malt House on Niagara Street, with plans for a multimillion-dollar conversion of the building into apartments.
Two years after initially filing a lawsuit, federal and state regulators on Monday shut down what they called a “predatory debt collection operation” in Getzville that was owned by local chiropractor Dr. Scott A. Croce, his wife, Susan, and sales professional Christopher L. Di Re.
Buffalo Urban Development Corp. officials are contemplating a potential $2.14 million investment that would double the power capacity at the growing Northland Beltline campus, an East Side light-industrial hub.
Buffalo Next reporters Jonathan D. Epstein, Jon Harris, Natalie Brophy, Matt Glynn, Janet Gramza and Mike Petro contributed to this roundup.
Five reads from Buffalo Next:
1. Tops Markets on Jefferson Avenue will reopen, but what that will look like is uncertain: As Tops officials plan for the reopening of its Jefferson Avenue store after a tragic mass shooting, when and how it will do so is still being considered as some community members want a new Tops store at a different location on Buffalo’s East Side.
2. Developers Karl Frizlen and Michael Masters are in the midst of turning the former Barcalo Manufacturing plant into Barcalo Living & Commerce, a mixed-use community in the Old First Ward that dozens of tenants soon will call home.
3. Doctor recognized for providing aid in strife-torn regions: Dr. Aaron Epstein has been splitting his life between surgical shifts in Buffalo and leading the humanitarian aid group he founded in 2015. Now, he’s in line for one of the nation’s top civilian awards.
4. Rachel’s Mediterranean grill expands beyond Buffalo home: Rachel’s has made it big in Western New York, and the family-owned business is now trying to expand the concept down the Thruway in New York and in larger markets such as Fort Worth, Texas.
5. Mickey Rats gets one more summer, but Captain Kidd’s gives way to townhomes: Ellicott Development Co. CEO William Paladino said the real estate company is trying to get Mickey Rats Beach Club open for business again by Memorial Day, for what may be its final summer.
The Buffalo Next team gives you the big picture on the region’s economic revitalization. Email tips to [email protected] or reach Buffalo Next Editor David Robinson at 716-849-4435.
Email tips to [email protected]