The Planning Board has endorsed two projects, clearing the way for exterior improvements at a downtown hotel and a new coffee shop in North Buffalo.
The Holiday Inn at 620 Delaware Ave. near North Street is planning a face-lift that will include construction of a new outdoor patio cafe and wine bar.
Meanwhile, Spot Coffee plans to open its fourth Erie County location at 1406 Hertel Ave., across from the North Park Theater.
After reviewing blueprints and discussing design schemes with architects, the Planning Board voted Tuesday to urge the Common Council to approve both projects.
The Holiday Inn's plans to include an outdoor cafe as part of its makeover raised concerns earlier this month. Some Allentown residents worried about noise and other potential problems.
At the urging of Planning Board member Horace A. Gioia, officials from Hart Hotels met with neighbors to discuss the project. Alan Incorvaia, the hotel chain's director of operations, told the board he is confident all neighborhood concerns have been addressed. The design was changed to remove some planned seating off the hotel's parking lot.
The small patio will only accommodate about 20 people and will never feature live music, said David Sutton of Dean Sutton Architects. Instead, the Planning Board has given the Holiday Inn permission to feature prerecorded low-level dinner music. If complaints surface about noise, the city could order the hotel to discontinue the music after one year.
"It's going to have a whole new look on Delaware Avenue," Incorvaia said.
Developers working on the new Spot Coffee plan to convert vacant space at Hertel and North Park avenues into a restaurant with two sidewalk cafes. Lamparelli Construction of Cheektowaga will oversee the $300,000 conversion, said David J. Crowe of DJC Architecture.
Spot Coffee hopes to open the shop early this summer -- possibly by the Fourth of July.
"They definitely want to have it opened before the Italian Festival begins," Crowe said. The festival runs July 14-17.