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Planning Board backs warehouse expansion, tables renovation project

City planners approved a small chemical storage expansion for Bison Laboratories on Monday night, but wanted more information before giving a green light for Roger Trettel's newest renovation in downtown Buffalo.

The Planning Board backed a 7,000-square-foot addition to Bison's existing facility at 100 Leslie St., where the East Side industrial chemical company plans to store its pool-supply products. Kulbacks Construction will build the single-story masonry warehouse structure, with a membrane roof and six overhead doors, on top of an existing elevated truck loading dock that is four feet above ground.

However, it tabled Trettel's plans to redevelop a pair of aging adjacent brick buildings at 50 Broadway and 2 Blossom St. into a single mixed-use complex, with a separate restaurant and a rear bar on the first floor - to be run by Ballyhoo's husband-and-wife operators of Tim and Morgan Stevens - and apartments on the upper two floors. Plans call for new bathrooms, mechanicals, windows and an entrance, as well as masonry restoration.

Trettel, who owns property to the west and north, and has done other building projects downtown, recently acquired the property from the owner of the pawn shop next door, which had been using it for storage. It was once used as a butcher and slaughterhouse. "For the past eight to 10 years, nobody's been doing anything with the building," said architect Tommaso Briatico. "It's an old building. It's been there for a long time. We'd just like to reuse it so it can be an integral part of our community."

Exterior renovation and repairs to the facade have already begun, but formal approval is needed for the full scope of work. But Planning Board members first wanted to know more about how handicapped patrons would access the restaurant and bar, and whether a new sidewalk would be installed.

In other action, the Board:

  • Approved a request by Larkin Development Group to add back 14 parking spaces at 694 Swan St., where officials are working to install a 1937-era diner.
  • Approved a one-story addition to the front of the Studio 806 hair salon building at 806 Elmwood Ave.
  • Tabled a proposal by Anthony LoRusso for a new solar-panel structure that would in effect create a covered carport over 31 parking spaces at Allentown Square Apartments at Maryland Place, located at 295 Maryland St., as part of the developer's attempt to make it a "net-zero" project.
  • Accepted as complete a draft environmental impact statement for Chason Affinity's proposed condominium project at 1111 Elmwood Ave. A public hearing will be held on Dec. 5, while a public comment period extends until Dec. 19.
  • Began initial discussion of the city's proposed new Green Code and "unified development ordinance," which is now under review by the Common Council. Since it is considered a wholesale rezoning of the city, the Planning Board has been asked to make a recommendation to the Council, which will hold public hearings on Nov. 14 and 22.


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