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O’Connell’s Clothing looks to expand

A Buffalo clothier with over a half-century of history wants to expand its Main Street presence by adding more storage and display space amid strong growth in both online and brick-and-mortar sales.

O’Connell’s Clothing has applied for city permission to construct a two-story addition to its store at 3240 Main, which would fill in an alley and driveway with 1,400 square feet of expanded space. The construction would include the same brick veneer and precast concrete panel base, to continue the front look of the existing three-story brick building, just north of Winspear Avenue and across from St. Joseph University Parish and School.

The much-needed stockroom addition – to store merchandise and display its wares – would to be located in a narrow space between the store and Music City next door. It’s designed to alleviate pressure on the business as sales have picked up, despite the effects of the internet, which often harms traditional stores.

Indeed, according to a letter to Planning Board officials from Abstract Architecture’s Michael C. Anderson, online transactions at O’Connell’s “are a strong and still-growing sales segment,” because all of the merchandise that is available online is in stock and typically shipped before noon the next day after an overnight order. That’s allowed the business to compete effectively.

More broadly, sales of all kinds have increased, causing the need for more space, even after a 2012 facade renovation resolved some immediate storage issues. Anderson wrote that owner Bernard J. Huber Jr. considered “off-site options,” but ultimately decided to stay on Main.

“The owner is confident that with the approval of this project, O’Connell’s Clothing will be in good standing to both meet current sales numbers and handle the projected growth of business in the coming years,” Anderson wrote.

As part of the project, Huber also plans to enhance the building’s exterior back facade, install energy-efficient equipment and fixtures, and move the existing mechanicals and backup generator to the new roof.

The $375,000 project is scheduled to be reviewed by the Buffalo Planning Board on Monday. If approved, the project could be finished by spring. Construction would take 12 weeks.

Other Planning Board items to be considered:

• Construction of two new two-story residential buildings on 2.29 acres at 151 Botsford Place, with seven townhome units. The $3.5 million project also includes seven driveways connecting to a new road called May Drive that in turn links to Hartwell Road.

• Replacing existing buildings, a driveway and four trees at 2040 Delaware Ave. with a new three-story, seven-unit row housing complex, on 0.36 acres, with access to Bedford Avenue.


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