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North Tonawanda seeks funds for downtown restaurant plan

Plans to construct a two-story restaurant at the corner of Sweeney and Main streets in North Tonawanda hinge on the city's application for a $570,000 state Community Development Block Grant.

The Common Council on Tuesday approved the request. The money would be applied to a $3.8 million project planned by JFLR Enterprises, owned by James Felton and Louis J. Riggio.

Michael W. Zimmerman, city community development director, said Tuesday that the project won't go forward unless the grant is received. The rest of the financing would come from the company's cash and a bank loan, he said. A company executive did not respond to requests for comment.

The vacant lot was the site of Pirson Auto Parts, which was demolished after 110 Sweeney LLC, owned by the Riggio family, bought the parcel for $230,000 in 2015.

Zimmerman said the as-yet-unnamed eatery would have a balcony facing Gateway Park and would offer "high-end American fare." It is projected to create 21 full-time and 36 part-time jobs.

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