Developer Rocco Termini is increasing his downtown Buffalo footprint by acquiring two Ellicott Street buildings with the intent of putting restaurants in both structures.
Termini confirmed he has the former Horton Coffee Co. building at 338 Ellicott Street under contract and is expected to close on the deal next week. Termini also has the former Golden Swan Cafe and Grille at 437 Ellicott Street under contract and will likely close on that deal in August.
The dual projects represent an $800,000 investment by Termini, although the Erie County Industrial Development Agency's directors, when they meet on July 18, are expected to approve an incentive package for the two restaurants. Both qualify under the IDA's adaptive re-use policy for older, vacant buildings.
"Our goal is to build more critical mass in downtown," Termini said.
In both buildings, Termini is partnering with Sarah Ketry, daughter of Pearl Street Brewery & Grill owner Earl Ketry, and noted local chef and restaurateur Mike Andrzejwski, owner of the SeaBar on Ellicott Street.
The 4,800-square-foot Horton Coffee building, which has been vacant for 25 years and dates back to the early 20th century, will be renovated into Tappo, an Italian-themed restaurant. Tappo is slated to open by December, Termini said.
The 175-seat restaurant will serve lunch and dinner and feature such red sauce-based items as spaghetti, lasagna and ravioli.
Plans for the Golden Swan, which closed earlier this year, are still being formed, Termini said.
"It is definitely going to be a restaurant but we are determining what type it will be," he said. "There's a lot of ideas we are batting around."
The two restaurants are part of four that Termini and his partners will be opening in downtown Buffalo in the coming months.
Ketry is re-opening the Lafayette Tap Room as part of the overall redevelopment of the Hotel Lafayette project that Termini is undertaking. The Tap Room will cater to the building's wedding and special event bookings, but also serve daily meals at lunch and dinner.
Andrzejewski is also opening Michael A's, an upscale steakhouse in the Hotel Lafayette.
"Restaurants could lead the way to bringing more retail back to downtown," Termini said.