Phil Fairbanks - The Buffalo News

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Phil Fairbanks

I cover federal courts and criminal justice issues and occasionally veer off into the world of refugees, human traffickers and streets gangs. As a product of the Watergate era, I value a newspaper's role as the community watchdog.


Add Journey's End of Canada to the list of hotels ready to take a stab at the topsy-turvy market downtown. Encouraged by the redevelopment of Buffalo and by the potential impact of the Free Trade Agreement, Journey's End announced plans for an "all suites" hotel in the Theater District. In doing so, the company became the second chain to unveil plans for a new down…

"No deals" was the response Common Council Member at Large Eugene M. Fahey offered Thursday to a compromise over funding for the Allendale Theater. Fahey said the Allendale proj ect should be judged on its merits and not used as "political black mail" by politicians seeking fund ing for other projects.At the same time, he backed off his earlier threats to delay fundin…

The new kid on the waterfront -- the $75 million Pavilion proj ect -- was unveiled today for a group of Main Street businesses and many came away convinced it will help, not hurt, downtown. Some merchants remain con cerned about competition, but others think Pavilion will bring people to the lakefront and some of those shoppers will spill over onto Buffalo Place."I'm …

Virginia Street, an area hurt by crime and blight, is the target of a new City Hall plan designed to turn around the lower West Side. The city is using the Georgia- Prospect and Pratt-Willert projects as models in developing an ur ban-renewal plan for a seven- block area between Niagara and Edwards streets.The first phase would include the construction of about 15 sub…

Unable to find a new private developer, City Hall is taking over the development and funding of the long-awaited Market Arcade project. The Buffalo Enterprise Development Corp. voted today to commit up to $7.6 million of city money to restore the Theater District complex. The city would have to come up with $2 million more than it originally budgeted for the projec…

The Buffalo Bisons successfully eased some concerns today about the city's getting its fair share of revenue from Pilot Field, but not without raising new questions. Several Common Council members came away from a meet ing today convinced the Bisons were within their legal rights to withhold a certain amount of rev enue because the stadium was completed a Month lat…

The struggling downtown retail core was handed a new tool Wednesday -- a $1 million low- interest loan fund for new and ex isting stores. The fund, announced at a press conference at M&T Plaza, is in tended to be an incentive for re tailers who might be wary about locating downtown or expanding operations there. Supporters de scribed it as a national first.Designed by…

The Common Council gave prelimi nary approval Tuesday to a rescue plan for Theater Place, considered by many to be the cornerstone of the troubled Theater District. The Council voted in favor of a tax-relief plan but not without express ing concern over continued public as sistance for the building's owners. In the end, the Council approved the plan but with the co…

Lovejoy Council Member Norman M. Bakos back ed off from his support of a Council pay raise Tues day and forced his colleagues to delay action on Mayor Griffin's veto of the measure.Just hours before the override was expected, Bakos informed the Council that he no longer supported the pay raises. His decision left supporters one vote short of the nine needed to overrid…

The Common Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a rescue plan for Theater Place, con sidered by many to be the corner stone of the troubled Theater Dis trict. The Council voted in favor of a tax-relief plan but not without ex pressing concern over continued public assistance for the building's owners. In the end, the Council ap proved the plan but with the con…

The struggling downtown retail core was handed a new tool today -- a $1 million low-interest loan fund for new and existing stores. The fund, announced at press con ference at M&T Plaza, is intended to be an incentive for retailers who might be wary about locating downtown or expanding operations there. Supporters described it as a national first.Designed by the Great…

In a last-minute move, the Common Council voted today to postpone an at tempt to override Mayor Griffin's veto of pay raises for its members, the mayor and the comptroller. Council President George K. Arthur asked for a motion to table the veto over ride attempt and received it from Council Majority Leader James W. Pitts. The mo tion was passed without discussion. …

The Lafayette Hotel and more than a dozen other buildings are being targeted for landmark protection as part of a new preservation campaign."Making Monuments" is the name the Preserva tion Coalition of Erie County has given to its first organized drive to obtain landmark status for build ings not currently in danger of demolition or alter ation. "We like to be on the …

More than $33 million in im provements to Memorial Audito rium, everything from air condi tioning and luxury sky boxes to a new four-sided video scoreboard, were unveiled today by a private consultant. The recommendations were de scribed by city officials as neces sary to keep professional hockey in Buffalo.The Buffalo Sabres are nearing the end of a 20-year-lease wit…

The vacant Nemmer Building and an adjoining piece of Theater District land are being targeted for redevelop ment as an office, shopping, housing and parking complex.A development partnership has pro posed saving the 62-year-old Nemmer Building and combining it with Haller Park, a sliver of land on the northwest corner of Main and Chippewa streets. Under the group's pl…