BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In January 2021, New York State published a 405 page business plan that details how Buffalo's Broadway Market can be transformed. The plan called for $45 million in renovations, and offered recommendations about what ought to be changed to transform the market into a regional destination. A couple months later, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $4 million for the market, which according to Kathleen Peterson, the Broadway Market's manager, has been largely untouched since that March 2021 announcement.
Fast forward to April 25, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a $37 million investment into the Broadway Market as part of the state budget. This amount of money will allow for the execution of that business plan in a meaningful way, Peterson told 7 News.
One of the people tasked with bringing the business plan to life is its author, Aaron Zaretsky, Principal & Founding Director of Public Market Development. Zaretsky, who has worked on more than 50 public markets, says he is confident the pieces are in place to make transformative change.
“It’s not going to happen next week, it’s going to happen over a several year period, it’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of cooperation, but I think the elements are very much in place," said Zaretsky.
Among the priorities is establishing a nonprofit organization to take over the Broadway Market's operations. Zaretsky and Peterson say that work has already begun. Details are slim, but Zaretsky says the city would maintain ownership of the venue and set the mission statement for the nonprofit, but the nonprofit would manage the day-to-day business of the market and ensure the strategic vision comes to fruition.
"That nonprofit would have to report to the city on a regular basis, and the city would have the ability to step in if things went awry," said Zaretsky.
Also atop the priority list, according to Zaretsky, is fixing the leaking roof, getting a freight elevator and loading dock for merchants, and redeveloping the facade on Broadway Avenue "to reflect the vitality" of the offerings inside the market.
“We’ve always prided ourselves on that we are a diverse group of people and in a very diverse neighborhood," said Peterson.
A conceptual rendering provided to 7 News, which includes floor-to-ceiling windows and space for outdoor seating, will go out for public input.
Lorraine Stachelski, who has worked at Lupas Meats inside the Broadway Market since 2008, says she is excited that there is now money to support the vision for redevelopment.
"Hopefully it means more people back in. It has to," said Stachelski. "I mean, seriously, as you can see it's kind of dead now. First of the month, second of the month, it's all hopping, and then all of the sudden it just dies off. We need to bring people back here."