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NFTA buys former auto repair shop next to Buffalo airport

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has added to its real estate holdings at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

The NFTA late last month acquired the former site of an auto repair shop located right next to the airport, after the owner of the longtime business closed down late last year. The agency paid $850,000 to Jeffrey D. Wetzel for the one-acre property at 1105 Wehrle Drive, near the intersection with Cayuga Road.

That's where the businessman had operated Wetzel's Tire & Service Center, a family-owned auto repair and gas station business with 90 years of history across four generations. After he closed the business, Wetzel arranged for Cleve-Hill Auto & Tire to handle his customers.

The NFTA has been interested in the property for years, because it's located in the Runway Protection Zone and "constitutes an obstruction," said NFTA spokeswoman Helen Tederous. As a result, the acquisition and demolition of the structure is eligible for funding from the Federal Aviation Administration.

In fact, NFTA had issued a request for bids for demolition of the one-story masonry block building and "fuel island canopy structures" back in 2013, along with installing stone surfacing over existing pavement, a concrete barrier curb and four chain-link fences.

The building is still standing as of now.

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