BUFFALO, NY - Envy Us Looks Barber Shop on Elmwood Avenue just opened in May. The owner, Manny Batcho, is concerned about the stability of the location following the announcement that a major developer is looking to transform the block where his business resides.
"So we don't know if we're here to stay or if we're going," Batcho said.
One building would be built between Bidwell Parkway and Potomac Avenue, and another would take up a portion of the next block, near where J.P. Bullfeathers used to be.
"Our concern is if he moves in and bumps the rent too high for everybody to stay, then his plan is in full effect, with whatever he wants to be done," Batcho said.
A petition was started in the neighborhood, against "Elmwood development that displaces local business."
Sunday Skateshop recently moved out of its storefront and put up a notice online that says: "Due to proposed redevelopment of our block, and upcoming demolition of our building, we will be moving to a new location"
Dennis Penman, Executive Vice President of Ciminelli Real Estate says they plan to work with businesses and hope to preserve the existing tenants operating in the neighborhood. Penman says the developer is 10 to 12 months away from starting construction. A business deal to purchase the property has been made, and they are in the preliminary stages of design.
"A combination of apartments and maybe some condominiums, that people can purchase, and maybe some retail space, would be the direction that we're going in," Penman said.
A traffic study is also underway, to analyze traffic flow and issues like off-street parking. Penman says there could be some selective demolition, but the developer will work to maintain the historic facade.