Can the thumping “Chip Strip” become Buffalo’s next thriving neighborhood?
Chippewa Street, normally characterized by its nightlife of loud music, booze and late night food options, is making progress in becoming a more customer-friendly neighborhood, according to the volunteer group The Chippewa Alliance.
The Alliance consists of a hodgepodge of residents, bar, restaurant, and other business owners. It includes Key Bank, Uniland Development, Labatt North American Breweries, Eric Mower + Associates, Kenny Shelton Liptak Nowak LLP, Evergreen Health Services and Delaware North Companies.
Alliance Vice President Tom Liptak is a lawyer at Kennedy Shelton Liptak Nowak LLP, which is located in the Calumet building on Chippewa. Liptak says the Alliance has three goals: continuing the economic growth of Chippewa and downtown Buffalo as whole, improving the streetscape of the strip, making it more attractive and user friendly, and increasing Chippewa’s foot traffic to benefit current and prospective business owners.
Liptak says his firm was the first white collar business to open on Chippewa three years ago. With the hustle and bustle of the downtown area, Liptak says people are in need of a “neighborhood feel.”
“Since the residents and employees of the business spend so much time here, we have a vested interest in seeing the neighborhood become a neighborhood as opposed to just a combination of bars and restaurants as was previously the case,” Liptak said.
Liptak attributes a “different feel” on Chippewa to construction and the improvements in streetscape, all of which contribute to the economic growth of the commercial district.
Buffalo’s resurgence has revived many neighborhoods over the last couple of years, including the Elwood Village. Liptak says Elmwood is further progressed in terms of their development, but the Village is offering guidance to the Alliance in helping it change into the diverse and accountable neighborhood it seeks to be.
The Alliance says it wants to make Chippewa a welcoming neighborhood for shopping, working, and living. The construction of new places of business and apartments has made Chippewa a more populated street. Liptak says he is excited about the new developments.
“Businesses and entrepreneurs are investing money in the redevelopment the revitalization of Buffalo. It is a neat thing to be a part of. I have to say,” said Liptak.
Liptak says as a finished product, he hopes Chippewa will be a hub of business, entertainment and comfort to all who come to visit.
WBFO's Jeffrey Mayne gathered material for this report.