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

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A local developer is continuing to push a unique plan for revitalizing downtown Buffalo's central business district.

Rudnick retiring from influential Partnership

Dec 19, 2012

After more than 20 years on the job, Andrew Rudnick is retiring as President and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

Photo from St. John Fruit Belt Community Website

More new housing is going up near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. State and local elected officials and religious leaders officially broke ground Friday, December 14, 2012 for 49-new townhomes at the corner of Maple and Virginia Streets in Buffalo.

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A prominent Buffalo developer say he is disappointed to learn that Governor Andrew Cuomo will likely put his veto pen to the Historic Tax Credit bill.

General Motors unveiled its new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models Thursday. The engines for the new lines are being built here in Western New York. 

Attorney general files suit against FWS

Dec 10, 2012

New York's attorney general has launched a lawsuit against the owners of Buffalo-based FWS furniture company, which recently went out of business, costing customers thousands of dollars. 

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The future of downtown's largest building is uncertain.  HSBC Bank has announced that it will leave the HSBC Center as of early next year. 

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

A big emphasize is being placed on supporting local merchants this holiday shopping season.  The tourism group Visit Buffalo Niagara is reminding citizens about our independent retailers and encouraging Canadians to head over the border for their Christmas shopping.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Rich Products is making a major investment at its Niagara Street headquarters.  The company has announced it will invest $18.45 million to expand and create a Customer Innovation Center. 

Press Pass: step-by-step city development

Nov 26, 2012
WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

Buffalo businessman Mark Croce continues the huge task of working to renovate the Statler Towers on Delaware Avenue.  It's one of many revitalization projects underway in the city.   WBFO's Eileen Buckley and Buffalo News reporter Brian Meyer discusses Croce's progress in this week's Press Pass conversation.

WBFO News by photo Mike Desmond

The historic Statler Towers in downtown Buffalo still looks a little tattered outside and the safety scaffolding remains in place in case more of the outside falls off.  But the proprietor, Buffalo developer Mark Croce, says things are going well inside.   

Wal-Mart workers and their supporters used Black Friday to stage a series of protests outside stores nationwide, including one in the Buffalo area.  They blasted the low wages Wal-Mart pays as well as the way the retailer treats its employees.

It was a Black Friday unlike many others in recent years.  The early start of the shopping season on Thanksgiving night meant crowds were more manageable Friday.

A group representing the local business community has released its list of priorities for boosting the region's economy.

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Friday is a work day in Canada, but Black Friday being pushed in Ontario.  Black Friday is said to be the day when shopping the day after American Thanksgiving turns corporate books from red ink to black ink.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

More than 140 people are taking part in a weekend program at Medaille College, designed to help entrepreneurs launch their ideas into the marketplace. 

Chris Caya/WBFO News

There appears to be no end in sight to the hockey lockout.  The National Hockey League on Friday announced the cancelation of regular-season schedule through the end of November. 

The lockout is having a significant effect on local businesses that rely on hockey-generated revenue.  Friday afternoon, a group of local business owners gathered to discuss the economic impact of the ongoing stalemate.

Templeton Landing manager Christy Vukelic says says the lockout has had a devastating effect on her business and she has had to lay off workers.

An investment group featured two local developers submitted the winning bid for the Grand Island Holiday Inn Resort and Conference Center Wednesday morning. 

Business First reports that in an auction that included ten registered bidders, a group led by developer Roger Trettel came out on top with a $4 million bid.  The winning group outbid a firm from Elmira in what the publication calls a "hectic" auction that featured 19 back-and-forth bids.

Job cuts coming to Dupont's Tonawanda plant

Oct 23, 2012

DuPont has also announced a worldwide reduction of 1,500 jobs over the next 12 to 18 months. That will include some positions at DuPont's Yerkes plant in Tonawanda by the end of the year.

Weak quarterly earnings reports and lower profit expectations from 3M and DuPont sent stocks tumbling today. The company blames continued low production volumes at the Tonawanda plant at River Road and Sheridan Drive.

Photo from OutFront Website

A private Canadian company based just across the border near St. Catharines is setting up shop on Buffalo's East Side. The expansion project will help create jobs and keep the doors open at a manufacturing facility that was about to close.

Businessman Tony Van Es has purchased a troubled manufacturer at 50 Wecker Street just off Bailey near Delevan. He is renovating the facility, buying new equipment and planning to add as many 60 employees over the next few years.

Van Es says they will be good-paying jobs.

Photo from Google Street view

With massive economic development growth expected at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, it will be key to create a proper street flow along Ellicott Street.  But a redevelopment project has hit a major delay. 

A contractor with a track record of incomplete local projects is to blame.  Man O' Trees has also failed to complete the Martin Luther King splash pad and a major reconstruction project in Niagara Falls.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

State Senator Tim Kennedy is proposing legislation that limits the annual fees municipalities across New York can charge mobile food vendors.

Kennedy says the food truck industry is booming, but inflated fees charged by municipalities are putting the brakes on mobile food vendors. The South Buffalo Democrat says his proposal will protect local control over regulating where and when food trucks do business.  

Catholic Health, the area's second-largest health care provider, has announced plans to build a new six-story administration building along the Elm-Oak Arterial downtown.

Groundbreaking for the $46 million headquarters and training facility is scheduled for October 30, with completion projected for the summer of 2014. The new building will be at 144 Genesee Street, between Elm and Oak Streets, just south of the Kensington Expressway terminus.

Photo from Wikipedia,

The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency has approved tax assistance for a company that plans reopen the historic Niagara Hotel.

JSK International Corp. plans to fully restore the hotel at 201 Rainbow Boulevard in the City of Niagara Falls.  JSK was approved for a 10-year sales tax abatement program of a little more than $3 million.

Niagara IDA chairman Henry Sloma tells WBFO News the assistance will allow the company to fully restore the hotel on Rainbow Boulevard.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Some downtown bar owners are claiming they're losing thousands of dollars with the end to a commingling ordinance experiment. 

Eighteen to 20 year olds were allowed, over the last six months, to attend bars along the Chippewa strip every Thursday night.  That ruled hit its sunset last Thursday. 

Ellicott District Common Council member Darius Pridgen, who sponsored the ordinance, spoke out at a Common Council committee meeting Tuesday. 

A major manufacturer in the City of Olean is closing its doors. 

Officials with Daltile announced Thursday afternoon that the company is ending operations at its plant on South Clark Street.  174 people work at the facility. 

The mosaic tile maker has been studying the long-term viability of the Olean plant and one in Gettysburg, PA in recent months. 

"Unfortunately, the company felt that it was unable to make the necessary investments in the Olean facility to keep it operational," said Assemblyman Joseph Giglio.

Chris Caya / WBFO/AM 970 News

The 8th Annual Western New York Construction Career Days continues in Lakeview Thursday. The two-day event is geared towards high school students and veterans.

The event offers students and veterans a first-hand look at what jobs in the trades entail.  WNY Construction Career Days Committee Chair John Magney said in many cases, schools are only directing students to college. 

"And as we all know we're not all cut out for college. You see these kids walk away from this event really thinking that this could be an opportunity for a career," said Magney.

WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

There is a node of hotels developing in West Seneca near the junction of the Main Line Thruway and Route 219. 

Ellicott Development has built three hotels through its Ellicott Hospitality subsidiary in West Seneca, with a ribbon-cutting yesterday for the new Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, flanking the Staybridge Suites hotel.
The Hampton Inn-Buffalo South is just down Slade Road.

West Seneca Supervisor Sheila Meegan said they have helped develop a section of the town which needed development.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Members of an animal rights group held a brief demonstration outside Walmart's Thruway Plaza store in Cheektowaga this morning.

The activists are calling on the retailer to stop confining pigs to tiny crates where they are unable to move.  The group is calling on the company to require its pork suppliers to phase out the practice.

Mercy For Animals National Campaign Coordinator Phil Letten says at two separate Walmart pork suppliers, the group documented pregnant pigs confined to "filthy, metal gestation crates" and pigs with open wounds and pressure sores.

WBFO News file photo

It appears a new developer will be needed for the former AM&A's Building on Main Street in downtown Buffalo. 

A couple of weeks ago, developer Rocco Termini said he would end his plans to redevelop the site because Governor Andrew Cuomo failed to sign a bill that would have raised the amount on tax credits used by developers to restore buildings.  

But now, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says there are some other developers eyeing the site. 

"AM&A's obviously has been a white elephant.  It has been vacant more than a decade in downtown Buffalo," said Brown.