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Once a marijuana-growing site, warehouse on Buffalo’s East Side planned as brewery

An old East Side industrial warehouse and office building that housed a marijuana-growing operation a few years ago is now being considered for a new brewery and a small beer-tasting room.

Thomas Garippo and the other owners of a century-old brick masonry structure at 1372 Clinton St. are seeking to convert the first floor of the vacant two-story building into the Brew- haus, with both beer production and about 655 square feet for a retail sampling function. A renovation of the second floor may come later, said architect Michael Anderson of Abstract Architecture.

The 5,432-square-foot building, located near the Clinton Bailey Farmers Market, was constructed in 1900, and has one loading dock in the rear and one overhead truck door on the side. Plans call for the existing site, greenspace and entrances to remain, with six parking spaces.

“We’re optimistic about the location and felt that stretch of road near the Clinton Bailey Market and food terminal has some opportunity,” Garippo said by email. “Primarily, we felt the size and condition of the building was fit for purpose and in our price range. Those are difficult to come by, regardless of where you’re at in the city.”

The facility was one of three identified in January 2015 by U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. as housing marijuana-growing operations run by former Buffalo police officer Jorge I. Melendez, who was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture more than 100 plants and was sentenced to 60 months in prison. Melendez and two others were arrested in May 2012, after a long-term investigation that found three growing sites, including the Clinton Street warehouse.

The new $200,000 brewery proposal was approved by the city Planning Board on Monday afternoon.

The Planning Board also approved:

• An $80,000 plan to combine a vacant lot at 854 West Ave. with an existing four-unit residential structure, and to construct a 32-space parking lot to provide parking for the adjacent Allied Mechanical building during business hours, with four spots dedicated for use by the residential tenants.

• A $200,000 proposal to construct a 64-space parking lot at 7-37 Brewster St., to support the $4.5 million redevelopment of the 80,000-square-foot nearby Phoenix Frontier Building into office space. The first phase of the building redevelopment is complete, with the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers and Community Action Organization occupying space on two floors. Tri-Main Development Group, which owns the project at 45 Jewett Parkway, is now starting to pre-lease the rest.

• A proposal by John Previty for a new 480-square-foot prefabricated tan metal building at an auto salvage yard at 49 Hopkins St. – the fifth such location for his family’s business.

• A request by Sean C. Tuohey to re-establish a restaurant at 481 Delaware Ave. as Rowhouse Bakery & Restaurant, under new ownership and with retail sales.

• A request by Christopher DeLorenzo for a sidewalk cafe, with tables and chairs, in front of his existing Squeeze Juicery restaurant at 766-770 Elmwood Ave.

• A request by James Pellenz to reopen a restaurant at 1122 Elmwood as PB’s Pizzeria & Grill, at the corner of Forest Avenue.

email: jepstein@buffnews.com

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