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

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.

WBFO News file photo

The Sabres organization and the City of Buffalo will begin preparing for Webster Block development.

That is one of the topics of conversation in this week's Press Pass conversation with WBFO & AM-970's Jay Moran and Business First reporter Jim Fink.

Jay and Jim also discuss new concerns that surrounded the Buffalo Creek Casino.

Cheektowaga's Super Flea, the popular weekend destination of bargain hunters, will soon make way for a Walmart Supercenter.

In written release, Walmart announced that it intends to build on the Walden Avenue site and relinquish its current location near Harlem Road. 

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Buffalo-based New Era Cap Company is losing millions of dollars to counterfeiters each year, which could cost local workers their jobs.

At the company's Delaware Avenue headquarters downtown Friday, Senator Charles Schumer announced a plan that he says will help trace the source of counterfeit caps, urge the U.S. Trade Representative to put more pressure on foreign governments, and step-up enforcement online.  

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.