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Controversial Main Place bar approved — with conditions

Main Place bar will be opening soon in the University Heights neighborhood, but it won’t be marketing to those too young to legally drink.

The Common Council approved Anthony J. Sordetto’s special-use application to open the bar at 3144 Main St. despite mounting opposition from neighbors, college students and business owners concerned that the establishment would become a neighborhood nuisance.

The unanimous approval, which was granted for two years so that officials can monitor the bar to make sure it does not become a problem, also came with two conditions: the removal of black tint from the windows and no marketing to underage patrons. Sordetto had planned to host occasional events for those 18 and older.

University Common Council member Rasheed N.C. Wyatt said the city's law department advised him that Sordetto's application "meets all the standards" and that it would be "unfair" to deny Sordetto's request based on opposition from residents.

After weeks of debate and wrangling, Sordetto said he was happy with Tuesday’s decision and agreed to the conditions.

“I feel good, and I’m looking forward to moving on, and I feel like we’re going to do well,” he said after the Council meeting. He added that he has received “a lot of support” from the community for his project.

But pressure to deny Sordetto’s request came from all sides in recent weeks with critics saying the area doesn’t need another bar, given the well-documented problems in the community with college students drinking and partying.

Wyatt, for instance, said his office had been flooded with calls from neighbors and nearby property owners who oppose the plan.

The University at Buffalo’s Student Association passed a resolution last week urging the Council to reject Sordetto’s proposal.

UB student group opposes Main Place tavern ahead of Council vote

Mickey Vertino, president of the University Heights Collaborative, recently sent the Council a letter saying the bar “blatantly” goes against the Collaborative’s vision for the community and “takes a step backward in the work we have done to stop being positioned as a student-drinking haven.”

And before that, neighborhood business owners Tucker Curtin of Steer Restaurant and Lake Effect Diner; Robert Reger Jr. of Reger Funeral Home; and Michael Starks, owner of a mixed-use building at 3142 Main St., hired attorney Charles D. Grieco to try to convince Council members to deny Sordetto’s request because Sordetto did not completely fill out the application and that the plan leaves too many unanswered questions.

Sordetto originally requested a special-use permit to operate the establishment as a “restaurant that serves alcohol and has live music” but would not initially have a kitchen. The original plan also called for “occasionally” marketing special events for people 18 and older.

But as part of the approval, Sordetto agreed not to market to those too young to legally drink.

Main Place could be open in the next few weeks, Sordetto said. It will operate Wednesday through Sunday from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m.

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