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Over the summer, Buffalo's chief economic development and housing agency approved a $2.18 million grant to a local group whose representatives include a felon who served prison time for identity theft, money laundering and lying to federal officials. Then, after reporters from The Buffalo News started raising questions about the man's criminal background, city officials…

Work to bring re-creations of the historic Erie Canal to the former Memorial Auditorium site is expected to start in January, representatives of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. told the city Planning Board on Tuesday.The proposal would create 18-inch-deep reflecting pools where canals used to exist on the site. The pools would be drained and used for ice skating in…

Ashley Leaderstorf and Edward Kellerman will always remember their wedding day.And so will Mark Croce.The young bride and groom held their wedding reception Saturday evening in Croce's historic Statler Towers on Niagara Square.It marked the return of a long and storied tradition of weddings at the iconic downtown building. The Buffalo businessman, who took title to…

Mayor Byron W. Brown said Tuesday that he supports spending $5.3 million in public funds to help refurbish the historic Statler Towers.Brown previously had said the city wanted to review a comprehensive plan for the entire building and evidence of businessman Mark D. Croce's personal investment in the Statler City project before committing any public money.After …

Canal Side looked ready to capsize a year ago.The 21-acre, mixed-use waterfront development was in serious trouble after Bass Pro Shops pulled the plug on a nine-year courtship last July 30.Now, things appear to be moving full steam ahead.Tuesday, Benderson Development Co. was given the green light to redevelop the former Donovan State Office Building, with the Phi…

The new owner of the Statler Towers says he's committed to transforming the mothballed complex into the "grande dame of downtown," and there's now curbside evidence that the project is moving forward.Crews hauled away ugly concrete barriers Wednesday that had forced pedestrians off the sidewalks on the Delaware Avenue side of the Statler.For more than a year and …

The wooden boards that have covered the windows of the Statler Towers are coming down this week, a sign that the historic property is awakening from its bankruptcy-induced slumber.The Niagara Square landmark, mothballed since January 2010, is scheduled to reopen for some business in August.Event planners already have booked late-summer and fall dates for a variety …

With the stroke of a pen in a chilly lobby, the Statler Towers was placed in new hands.Businessman Mark D. Croce took ownership of the historic 18-story downtown property Wednesday at a deed-signing ceremony attended by dozens of onlookers. Croce said he is ready to get to work on reviving the Statler through his entity, Statler City LLC. "This property will have…

The Planning Board on Tuesday gave a developer the green light to turn a long-vacant building on Main Street next to Bennett High School into loft apartments.Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. plans to transform the former Buffalo Meter Co. building into a residential complex that will include about 85 apartments, a fitness center, lounge and laundry facilities.The six-…

A vacant building in the Main-Hertel neighborhood would be transformed into 89 loft apartments under an $8.5 million plan presented to city officials.The six-story structure next to Bennett High School once housed the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Design. The former Buffalo Meter Co. building has been vacant since the 1990s, said Steven J. Carm…

Two landmark churches in Buffalo will receive state money for significant repairs and restoration work on their historic buildings.The state's Environmental Protection Fund will provide $526,796 to Trinity Episcopal Church on Delaware Avenue and $200,000 to Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church at Lafayette and Elmwood avenues.Representatives from the two churches…

The sign outside Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church reads, "We proclaim hope."That spiritual message could serve as a metaphor for a bricks-and-mortar plan now unfolding to save the 169-year-old congregation, in the imposing Romanesque edifice that has anchored the northeast corner of the Lafayette-Elmwood Avenue intersection since 1895.The plan would convert 21,000 squa…