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

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. 

New county-wide land bank to be one of first in NYS

May 17, 2012
Photo provided by City of Buffalo

The City of Buffalo and Erie County are celebrating the approval of a county-wide land bank.  

The City of Buffalo learned Thursday from Governor Cuomo that Empire State Development approved the land bank.  It will be one of the first to be created in the state.

Western New York is already a popular destination for Canadian shoppers, but local tourism officials believe the region has greater potential.

Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Dotty Gallagher-Cohen says a new study was designed to show local businesses who their Canadian customers really are.

"What we hope to do is take what's happening organically and devise some strategies to increase the frequencies and the lengths of stay of people who come here," Gallagher-Cohen said.

WBFO News photo / WBFO News

There is an increasing focus on the long-awaited re-writing of Buffalo's zoning code.  New discussions will also get underway soon regarding the possible re-use of the iconic Trico Building in downtown Buffalo.

This is part of this week's Press Pass conversation with WBFO & AM-970's Chris Jamele and Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly.


WBFO News file photo

One of Wall Street's premiere bond rating agencies has upgraded Buffalo's bond rating to A1. 

City Comptroller Mark Schroeder says Moody's decision follows a complimentary report it wrote about Buffalo's diversifying economy and a meeting he and top financial officials in the Brown Administration and City School District had with the "big three" bond ratings agencies in New York City a month ago. 

Schroeder told WBFO News he thinks the upgrade reflects Moody's view that Buffalo is finally ready to "move forward."

WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

The national numbers portray an improving employment picture, but the count of hundreds at a Wednesday job fair in Niagara Falls shows a gloomier, more desperate reality.

WBFO and AM970's Mark Leitner visited the fair and spoke with many of the attendees.

The day, perhaps, offered a microcosm of the nation's changing economy.

Daniel Robison / WBFO

Only seven percent of plastic waste in the United States is recycled each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A startup company in Niagara Falls says it can increase that amount and reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil at the same time.

It all starts with a machine affectionately known as the "Plastic-Eating Monster." Thousands of pounds of shredded milk jugs, water bottles and grocery bags tumble into a large tank, where they're melted together and vaporized. This waste comes from landfills and dumps from all over the United States.

Niagara Falls carrier Direct Air files for bankruptcy

Mar 16, 2012

Direct Air, which suddenly suspended its flights this week into and out of Niagara Falls International Airport, filed for bankruptcy today.  The Myrtle Beach, South Carolina-based airline is seeking Chapter 11 protection. 

Papers filed with a bankruptcy court in Massachusetts indicate liabilities between $10 million and 50 million.  The Buffalo News reports Direct Air owes $88,000 in landing fees to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. 

Policy adviser Bruce Katz speaks at Buffalo City Forum

Mar 14, 2012
Photo by Eileen Koteras Elibol/WNED Art Director and Photographer

When Governor Andrew Cuomo promised a “billion for Buffalo” earlier this year, he promised to draw on the expertise of Bruce Katz with the Brookings Institution.

“There already is a buzz nationally about the Buffalo billion,” Katz told the crowd of 200 at “Buffalo City Forum” on Wednesday at WNED’s downtown studios.

In his address, he hinted at his vision for how the billion will be spent.

The Buffalo metro area contains about six percent of state’s jobs and population. The ultimate goal of Cuomo’s billion will be to boost both of numbers and make it stick.

More than 175 local businesses looking to rebuild Western New York turned out for an Economic Action Summit on UB's North Campus this morning. 

The forum included eight workshops covering small business, infrastructure and commerce, agriculture and energy, and education.  The session was sponsored by Rep.Kathy Hochul.   

Photo from Maid of the Mist Website

The Maid of the Mist Tour boats will be operating on both sides of Niagara Falls this season.  But future operations of the boats along the Niagara River Gorge remain unknown.

“I think the Maid operating this year, on both sides and hopefully the New York side for a long time come,” said State Senator George Maziarz of Newfane after learning the Maid of the Mist will be moving forward with its tours at least for this year.  

The decision was issued Tuesday after Maid of the Mist officials completed discussions with the Niagara Parks Commission. 

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand believes Washington can move to slow rising gas prices with some short-term and some long-term solutions.

Gillibrand made her comments while making a stop in Western New York Monday.

Gillibrand  said the Strategic Petroleum Reserve can be tapped and she advocates on behalf of occasional furloughs from the gasoline tax.  In the long run, Gillibrand argues lawmakers can make a difference with better budget decisions.

WBFO and AM 970 now simulcasting

Mar 1, 2012
WBFO News photo

Two public radio stations are now one.  WNED's purchase of WBFO radio is final. WBFO and AM 970 are now simulcasting from WNED's downtown studios. 

WNED purchased WBFO from the University at Buffalo and will continue to provide NPR news and information programming. 

Programs such as All Things Considered, Morning Edition and On Point will continue.  Weekend programs include Car Talk, Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and the blues. 

An updated program schedule is available at 

Several WBFO staff members have also joined the AM 970 staff. 

Photo from Lloyd's Taco Truck

A downtown food truck operator has plans to expand its service a month after Mayor Brown signed new food truck rules into law.   The owners of Lloyd's Taco Truck has launched a campaign using Kickstarter -- a funding platform.  It allows supporters to pool additional funds needed for the truck’s down payment. 

WBFO'S Eileen Buckley talked to the co-owner of Lloyd's Taco Trucks, Peter Cimino. 

Come fly with me

Feb 29, 2012
WBFO News photos by Jim Pastrick

Beginning March 25th, Delta Airlines will increase its daily flights from Buffalo-Niagara International Airport to its new domestic New York hub, from six to nine flights daily.

Jet aircraft will replace the turbo-prop aircraft used on the air route.

WBFO's Jim Pastrick stepped on board and took a tour of Delta's Canadair CRJ-700 and talked to the flight crew.

WBFO News photo

Kaleida Health will close Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital in about six weeks.  That will create a major vacancy in a high-profile Buffalo location.

Recognizing the difficulty of reinventing the site, Kaleida is offering a $1-million grant to the developer with the best plan for the soon-to-be shuttered facility. 

Business First reporter Jim Fink says the donation -- although generous -- represents just a fraction of what's required to transform the building.

WBFO News file photo

Western New York Congresswoman Kathy Hochul was at home in her district Monday, addressing problems faced by small  businesses and calling for streamlining federal agencies.

WBFO News talked to Hochul about her call for improving the federal government's response to small businesses.

The Consolidation Authority Act would restore presidential power to re-organize federal agencies. That power that lapsed in 1984. Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, who represents New York's 26th congressional district, said Congress needs to approve the Act. Why?

Falls airport gets business boost

Jan 12, 2012
WBFO News photo by Jim Pastrick

A group of proponents for the Niagara Falls International Airport have announced the formation of a not-for-profit organization.  It's called the Niagara Falls Airport Stakeholder Group, Incorporated.

State Senator George Maziarz said the  Stakeholders Group and Niagara Falls International Airport would like to attract more charter airlines and passengers to the airport.