Pizza Plant eyes Canalside site

July 18, 2014 Updated Jul 18, 2014 at 8:08 AM EDT

By James Fink, Buffalo Business First

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Pizza Plant eyes Canalside site

July 18, 2014 Updated Jul 18, 2014 at 8:08 AM EDT

The "pods" may soon be on the menu near Buffalo's waterfront.

The owners of the Pizza Plant in Amherst have confirmed they are negotiating with Benderson Development to occupy the street-level vacant space in the recently-opened One Canalside Building.

"It's not a done deal, but we are negotiating," said Robert Syracuse, Pizza Plant owner and president.

Negotiations are expected to wrap up soon and, potentially, the Pizza Plant could be serving its first pod in downtown Buffalo just after the first of the year.

For Pizza Plant, the One Canalside Building will be the company's third site. It currently has locations in the Walker Center on Main Street in Amherst and Transit Road, also in Amherst.

Syracuse said various new developments and downtown changing demographics convinced him that it was time to open in Buffalo. Various developers and landlords had approached the Syracuses - Robert and his brother, Dan - in the past, but were rebuffed.

"Everyone has always been asking why we weren't in downtown," Robert Syracuse said. "Now, it's more than just the attraction of Canalside. It's downtown-plus, with everything that's going on there. Just look at everything that's happening there, now."

Pending the final lease talks, Pizza Plant's opening would come shortly after HarborCenter makes its debut this fall and a series of historically aligned, replica Erie Canal waterways are open for skating and other activities.

Canalside is on pace to attract more than 800,000 visitors this year and that number is expected to balloon with the opening of HarborCenter and other developments in the fast-emerging waterfront district.

The One Canalside Building is anchored by the Phillips Lytle law firm and the 102-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel.

The Pizza Plant is best known for its pods - pizza ingredients wrapped in dough. The restaurant also serves a number of other menu items.