With a key approval in hand, developer Rocco Termini hopes to open his latest city project this summer.
The Buffalo Planning Board, Tuesday morning, approved Termini's proposal to take a sliver-like vacant lot at 128 Genesee St and turn it into a 3,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant made from shipping containers. When it opens, the restaurant will be the first structure locally made from the containers. Other cities have seen a number of projects developed using the containers as key elements of their site footprints.
"It's done all over the country," Termini told planning board members. "Buffalo is just a little behind the times."
The restaurant, called "Dog e Style" will only sell hot dogs and beverages - no hamburgers or chicken wings. Just hot dogs and beverages.
Termini said the project, for which he is investing more than $400,000, is considered "green" because the bulk of the building will be made from discarded shipping containers - like those seen on rail cars and freighters.
"There's millions of these empty containers across the U.S.A.," he said. "It's cheaper for the companies to just leave them than ship them elsewhere."
With the planning board is greenlighting the project, Termini expects to order the containers and begin work on the restaurant this spring. Dog e Style will have a first level patio and seating on both floors. The restaurant will be located almost across the street from Eddie Brady's and one block from Catholic Health's $46 million corporate headquarters and training center that will open later this year.
Termini said the Catholic Health project, coupled with other new developments in downtown Buffalo, fueled his decision to create the restaurant.
"It's exciting," said James Morrell, planning board chairman. "It's different."
Termini's is not the only other new restaurant planned for that stretch of Genesee Street.
Local real estate investor Fred LoFaso confirmed he has the former Curve restaurant, located at the corner of Genesee and Oak streets, under contract with plans to open either a restaurant or coffee shop in the building. The building is currently used as a homeless shelter.
LoFaso said he is talking with several potential operators and will sign a tenant once he closes on the property.
Dog e Style is the latest downtown venture for Termini whose portfolio includes the Hotel@theLafayette and Tappo on Ellicott Street as well as such residential projects as the IS Lofts and Oak Street Lofts.