Business/Economy

The WBFO Business & Economy News Desk is funded by The M&T Charitable Foundation.

WBFO News photo by Chirs Caya

Cash registers are ringing again at "998 Broadway."  The catchy sounding address made famous locally by the old Sattler's Department Store is now the site of the City's newest ALDI.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown helped cut the ribbon on the new store across from the Broadway Market Thursday morning.

The Mayor said "it's another great day of momentum in Buffalo."   

One of the nation's most famous grocery chains is coming to the Buffalo area. 

The Kenmore Village Improvement Society said Trader Joe's will open a store in a major retail corridor by the end of 2013. 

The group has been lobbying for a Trader Joe's for several years.  Society President Melissa Foster confirms the news.  Foster said it's a big win for the community to finally land the chain.

Daniel Robison / WBFO

Western New York is home to more than 200 growing startup companies catering to specific medical and life science needs.

While these small businesses offer unique products and services, they don’t always have a market for their goods or the personnel to aggressively seek out buyers.

A new initiative will try to give at least 40 of these companies the extra sales muscle to move $25 million worth of local products in the next three years.

'Hand in glove'

Plans to redevelop Tishman Building move ahead

Sep 6, 2012
Photo provided by City of Buffalo

Plans to transform the Tishman Building into a mixed use building at Lafayette Square in downtown Buffalo moved another step forward.  

Wednesday Mayor Byron Brown announced a new easement agreement with The Hamister Group.  The $40-million project will transform the Tishman building into a Hilton Garden Inn hotel, apartments and new corporate offices for Hamister. 

File photo

There is a new head of the state agency developing Buffalo's waterfront. Governor Andrew Cuomo has nominated civic leader Robert Gioia to the board of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation and recommended he be chairman.

Gioia is the president of the John R. Oishei Foundation, chairman of the Great Lakes Health System, and a former chairman of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

City chooses Pegula's proposal for Webster Block

Aug 30, 2012

A group led by Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula has been chosen to develop downtown Buffalo's Webster Block.  The announcement was made by Mayor Byron Brown late Wednesday morning. 

"Great things are happening in the city of Buffalo and today it is getting even better," said Mayor Brown as he started the news briefing.

WNED to sell AM station to Crawford Broadcasting

Aug 29, 2012

Western New York Public Broadcasting Association has entered into an asset purchase agreement to sell WNED-AM 970 toCrawford Broadcasting Company.

“Since WNED purchased WBFO-FM 88.7 in March, we’ve been able to consolidate the frequencies for our news and information service,” said Donald K. Boswell, WNED president and CEO. “We want to make the best use of our resources and don’t feel that it’s necessary to simulcast on both AM 970 and WBFO-FM 88.7 any longer.”

WBFO News file photo

Kaleida Health's board of directors has selected a proposed veterinary school to be developed at the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital.

Kaleida made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.  The $65 million plan proposed by local developer Chason Affinity was chosen over a proposal for a mixed use complex from Uniland Development that including a hotel and residential, office, and retail space.

M&T Bank acquires Hudson City Bancorp for $3.7 billion

Aug 27, 2012

Buffalo-based M&T Bank Corporation has announced the largest acquisition in company history.

M&T will take over the Paramus, New Jersey-based Hudson City Bancorp Incorporated for an estimated $3.7 billion.  Ninety-seven of the 135 branches being purchased by M&T are in New Jersey, which will make it the Garden State's fourth-largest bank by deposit share.

Delaware North searching downtown for headquarters

Aug 27, 2012
WBFO News photo

Though they may eventually stay in their current location, Delaware North officials are examining some key downtown spots for their headquarters.

Jim Fink of Business First says Delaware North will be keeping its 350 employees downtown, however the company is exploring its options prior to their lease expiring in 2015.

That's one of many items Jim Fink touched upon during his Press Pass conversation on WBFO and AM 970.

Mayor Brown, Fink expects, will make a decision this week on who will develop the Webster Block near First Niagara Center.

The Canadian government says it will maintain a consular presence in Buffalo, even though the downtown Consulate in the HSBC Tower is slated to close. 

Senator Charles Schumer says he has been in contact with government officials, trying to get them to reverse what he calls a "poor decision."  Around 75 people worked on two floors in the tower. The Consulate's immigrant section closed in June.

While its still on track to close next week, Schumer says Foreign Minister John Baird has agreed to keep a consular presence in the Queen City through a smaller liaison office. 

Photo from NYS Thruway Authority Website

The New York State Thruway Authority is proposing a 45% toll hike for commercial traffic.  Many are already speaking out against it.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has defended the increase saying it is "needed" to deal with escalating maintenance costs.  Unshackle Upstate says the increase would hurt the trucking industry. 

The first of three public hearings will be held Thursday night in Buffalo.  One local leader is vowing a fight. 

"My position is very clear on the issue of increasing tolls. We are dead set against it," said State Senator Tim Kennedy of Buffalo. 

Chris Caya/WBFO News

The head of the U.S. Postal Service made a surprise visit to Buffalo's William Street Mail Processing Center this morning. 

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe toured the facility before speaking to the 2,500 attendees at the 108th National Rural Letter Carriers Association Convention. 

After being targeted for closure in a cost-cutting move, the William Street facility won a temporary reprieve from earlier this year. The Postal Service is seeking to close a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall and stay solvent in a time of declining mail volume.

Another Canadian company is moving operations south of the border and doing some hiring at a new location in Holland.

Fichman Furniture makes wooden radiator covers and will be making them in an existing building which was formerly used for producing wood products. Owner Erran Fichman says the building is ideal for what the company does and has already hired some workers.

The covers are made from a wood composite called MDF which comes from just across the border in Pennsylvania.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The city is getting closer to developing a prime piece of land in downtown Buffalo that borders the new Canalside at the hockey arena. 

Buffalo developer Carl Paladino and the Buffalo Sabres presented their separate plans for the Webster Block.  That's the topic of this week's Press Pass conversation.

WBFO & AM-970's Eileen Buckley sits down with Buffalo News reporter Brian Meyer who spoke to the developers about details of their proposals in this week's Press Pass conversation.

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Crowds overflowed Sharf's restaurant Monday night, hoping to keep the Schiller Park landmark open despite having fallen on hard times.

Second generation owner Jerry Scharf says business has fallen so much he might have to close a restaurant his family has run since 1967.

Monday night, the kitchen staff was pumping out the traditional sausage and sauerkraut. Scharf had a big smile on his face at the overflow crowd, saying he and his children were encouraged by the show of support for his struggling business. The organized fundraising event was dubbed "Scarf for Scharf's."

The plan for returning cars to Main Street in downtown Buffalo is already beginning to have its desired effect.  The city has found a new tenant for a long vacant restaurant in the Market Arcade complex.

A project to rebuild the 600 block of Main so it can accommodate Metro Rail and automobiles is set to begin in September, but that didn't stop Jay Haynes from leasing the former Ya Ya Bayou Brewhouse near Shea's Performing Arts Center. Haynes plans to open Perfetto, an upscale eatery this fall.

With all of the plans in the works, there will soon be more hotels in downtown Buffalo, with taxpayers picking up part of the tab.

There are already two new hotels well along in development, both from developer Mark Croce -- Statler City and the Curtiss Building just up the street.

There is also likely to be a brand new hotel on the Webster Block next to the hockey arena, with two proposals on the table, one from developer Carl Paladino and a more elaborate plan including hockey rinks from Sabres owner Terry Pegula.

The future of what may be America's greatest newspaper is in doubt, as the world of print news changes.

That is the thesis of Cornell University English Professor Daniel Schwarz in his new End Times? Crisis and Turmoil at The New York Times

WBFO & AM-970's Mike Desmond spoke with Schwarz.

Niagara Falls is staying about the same height while the buildings looking down on it from the Ontario side are continuing to rise.  

The Niagara Falls, Ontario City Council has cleared the way for two massive, linked hotel towers looking down on the Falls.

Niagara Falls, Ontario Mayor Jim Diodati said they will be pitched to Asian tourists, a rapidly-increasing segment of the tourism crowds arriving in the Canadian Cataract City.

The mayor and other city officials went to China, Abu Dhabi and Dubai looking for investment and tourism last year. 

Welded Tube Website photo

The region is on the edge of getting a major new manufacturing plant on the site of the old Bethlehem Steel plant in Lackawanna.

If all of the dotted "i"s and crossed "t"s fall into place, Welded Tube of Canada is planning to put $50 million  into a new facility in the Tecumseh Business Park on the old steel plant site.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que chooses downtown Buffalo location

Jul 16, 2012

It's the news that Buffalo barbeque lovers have been waiting to hear for years.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, the much beloved Rochester and Syracuse eatery, has signed a long-term lease in downtown Buffalo, with a goal of opening its doors next summer. 

Dinosaur CEO John Stage has chosen a 6,000+ square foot building at 301 Franklin Street that can accommodate around 180 diners.  The building is owned by local developer Mark Croce.  Croce says the lease allows Dinosaur creative license to customize the site to meet their needs.

Sorrento reaches accord with striking workers

Jul 12, 2012
Chris Caya/WBFO News

Striking Sorrento Lactalis workers returned to work last night after Sorrento and Teamsters Local 264 reached a new three-year labor agreement. 

The union hit the picket lines earlier this week outside the facility in South Buffalo after contract talks stalled. As of Monday, 257 hourly workers participated in the job action.

The union, in a statement, says the new tentative deal includes “wage increases, maintenance of comprehensive health care coverage and a host of positive non-economic provisions.”

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand hosted a roundtable discussion in Niagara Falls Tuesday morning to discuss ways for business leaders and elected officials to improve cross-border commerce.

Local stakeholders and area business leaders gathered in the City of Niagara Falls Tuesday  to attend a roundtable discussion on improving cross-border commerce hosted by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. 

Gillibrand was joined by Rep. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Brian Higgins to discuss trade barriers and opportunities in tourism across the U.S./Canada border.  

The clock is ticking toward KeyBank expanding its footprint in the western region of New York. 

The Cleveland-based banker is poised to officially take over more than three-dozen HSBC branches in Buffalo and Rochester beginning the weekend of July 13. KeyBank will take over 26 HSBC branches in Buffalo and another 11 branches in Rochester. The changeover will be complete as of Monday, July 16. 

With a year-round restaurant having just opened on Buffalo's Inner Harbor, a local restaurateur says he still wants to expand his Outer Harbor restaurant to year-round operation. 

Tucker Curtin owns Dug's Dive at the NFTA's Small Boat Harbor.  The property belongs to the authority now, although that may change soon.

Last year, Curtin talked to the NFTA about staying open all year. He wasn't allowed to, even though he has a year-round lease.  Now, Curtin is talking to the agency again about Dug's Dive being a winter and summer operation.

Mike Desmond/WBFO

The food and drink is finally flowing in a year-round restaurant on Buffalo's burgeoning Inner Harbor, with the opening of the Liberty Hound restaurant in the main building of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.

Liberty Hound is gradually ramping up operations over the holiday weekend and training staff for a full operation and a full menu on Tuesday.

An attempt to put a restaurant there last year turned into a struggle among the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, the Naval Park, and City Hall, which owns the building.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The City of Buffalo has secured a new owner for the former Central Park Plaza in the Masten District. 

LP Ciminelli and Strickler Development purchased the site for $800,oo0.  Mayor Byron Brown made the announcement from the former site off Amherst Street late Friday morning. 

"This is a great day for the Central Park neighborhood.  This is a great day for people that live in this community. This is a great day for the City of Buffalo," said Mayor Brown.

A week ago, Buffalo hosted a pack of investors from out of town for an event known as the Venture Forum. Dozens of promising local start-up companies aimed to make the best impression on these investors to secure funding and leapfrog their competition.

Reporter Daniel Robison followed one of those small businesses through the process and filed this report.

 

Clarence-based Greatbatch, Inc. is relocating its corporate headquarters to Frisco, Texas. 

The medical device manufacturer announced today that some top executives will move to the Dallas-Fort Worth area this summer, and further shifts will be considered as warranted.  The company says the move will allow it to operate in a stronger, more centralized business environment. 

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