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Park Place Market project clears 1st of 2 hurdles in Falls

NIAGARA FALLS – Plans for a new artisan and farmers’ market at Main Street and Park Place won one of the two needed approvals from the city Wednesday.

The city Planning Board gave the Park Place Market project the go-ahead, though it still requires the consent of the Historic Preservation Commission because the site lies in a historic district.

Initial vendors at the site will include artisans selling their wares, a couple of produce stands and two food vendors, according to the proposal.

Some will be housed in sheds, with others in a row of pop-up tents. Plans call for the market to be open Tuesdays and Thursdays and possibly one weekend day, with the operation running outdoors from May to October.

The venture includes partners, one of whom is Robert Brawn, owner of Custom Bench on Pine Avenue, who said he wants to provide shopping opportunities for residents and tourists. The property, which has a building and a paved parking lot, is owned by Craig Avery. It is across from the post office on Main Street.

“We want to build it up for the neighborhood, we want to build it up for the community and we want to let people who have talents come onboard and do their thing,” Brawn said after Wednesday’s Planning Board meeting.

A building on the parcel presently houses Niagara Hub, which will move from its existing space into the neighboring building at 640 Park Place, which houses the Niagara Falls district office of Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, and Niagara University’s ReNU Niagara program office.

The building may be used in the colder months for more seasonal shopping, Brawn said.

The eight sheds to be used were used in the city’s Holiday Market held on Old Falls Street at the end of 2011.

The Historic Preservation Commission is expected to take up the issue when it meets Wednesday.

In another matter, the Planning Board approved plans for a Tony Roma’s restaurant and two-story arcade to be added to the Holiday Inn on Buffalo Avenue.

The new space will be built on part of an existing parking lot between the hotel and Rainbow Boulevard. The property is owned by Merani Holdings LLC.

Construction will begin once building permits are issued, which may come in a matter of days. The work is expected to last until September, said project architect James Boy.

The board rejected a request to move a metal trash bin on the hotel property about 40 feet closer to the sidewalk along Rainbow Boulevard.