Press Pass: Star power boosting regional assets

Jun 9, 2015

While hockey legend Wayne Gretzky is set to lend his name to Niagara-on-the-Lake's growing wine industry, the BPO has secured a long-term commitment to keep the growing star power JoAnn Falletta in Buffalo.  Jim Fink of Business First discusses those developments and more on WBFO's "Press Pass."

"In classical music circles JoAnn Falletta is a huge, huge star. This will help the BPO in terms of stability," Fink said of the news that Falletta had agreed to a contract extension that will keep her in Buffalo through 2021.

"She's a large reason their endowment fund is over $30 million."

Fink also provided some perspective on the announcement that Niagara-on-the-Lake will be home to the new "Wayne Gretzky Winery and Craft Distillery."

The 15,000 square-foot attraction is slated to open in 2017.

"This is the star power the wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake really need," Fink said

"Let's face it, Wayne Gretzky is an icon. Even if you casually follow hockey, everybody knows the name Wayne Gretzky."

"This is a real drawing card."

Ellicott Street is drawing restaurants and plenty of patrons. Last week, the Buffalo Planning Board gave approval to Richard Hamilton to open Deep South Taco at Ellicott near Mohawk.

"It's become 'restaurant row,'" Fink said of the many new restaurants that are opening in a downtown area that in recent years was home to parking lots and a scattered assortment of businesses.
Fink sees this as the fulfillment of a master plan that called for downtown Buffalo to become a place to "live, work and play."

"This certainly falls under 'play.'"  

On Press Pass this morning, Jim Fink of Business First looks at an emerging downtown "restaurant row," and highlights the star power of a long standing figure on the Buffalo cultural scene, but first he talks about hockey's greatest star, Wayne Gretzky. It was announced last week that Niagara-on-the-Lake will soon be home to the "Wayne Gretzky Winery and Craft Distillery," a 15-thousand square foot attraction set to open in 20-17.