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Elmwood business owners concerned over possible demolition

Posted at 5:12 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 05:25:03-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Dave Hone was sitting in his office Wednesday morning working on graphic design, when a neighbor walked in and told him some heart-stopping news.

"Apparently we needed to vacate our premises by January first. This is actually the first I've heard of this. Nobody notified me, nobody sent a certified letter," said Hone.

The reason, he said, is because the block of Elmwood Avenue between Bidwell and Potomac is going to be demolished.

"I'm a little bit in the dark as to exactly what's going on right now," he said.

And he's not alone. Other business owners told us they've heard - but received no official letters - that they have three months to leave.

But it's unclear where this information is coming from. Officials with the city's Economic Development Division told us they haven't heard of demolition plans for this block.

A few years ago, businesses in the Elmwood-Bidwell area were part of a proposed $40 million mixed-use project by Ciminelli Real Estate called Arbor and Reverie.

But after neighbors raised concerns about the size of the project, Ciminelli withdrew plans for "Arbor."

Meantime another developer, Whitesand Family LP, has already demolished several homes and begun work a block away on a mixed-use project just north of the old Bullfeathers.

As for Hone, he said he’s frustrated with the unknown. He spent this past winter remodeling his small business, and has a two-year lease.

"We were considering extending it beyond that," he said. "We just moved up to Buffalo this last year, and we're just opening our first location here."

To add to his concerns, he said he still hasn't gotten anything official.

"I still have not received official notification, I heard this from one of the businesses in the same block that they're going to be taking the entire block out. Bulldozing it and putting something new in," he said.

Until then, Hone said he'll take it one day at a time and hope for the best.