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Sheehan deal another positive for downtown

Another positive development project for downtown Buffalo: Sheehan Memorial Hospital has been sold and will be used for several medical purposes. The McGuire Development Corp. bought SHEEHANthe shuttered hospital on Michigan Avenue out of bankruptcy for $2 million.

The company plans to bring in the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Health Network, part of the Urban Family Practice Group. Another expected tenant is UNYTS, the upstate New York transplant services company. McGuire may also move its certified nursing training program to the facility.

These are all stellar tenants and will bring new life to a proud facility that had slowly shut down in recent years. Its proximity to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus adds to the growing science and medical based economy the city is developing.

- Grove Potter

 

 

Lenox Grill honoring Prime 490 guests

Anyone holding a gift certificate for the now-closed Prime 490 restaurant Features Prime 490 Cantillon 5 on Rhode Island Street in Buffalo can relax. The certificates will be honored at the Lenox Grill, in the Lenox Hotel a 140 North St. Both the Lenox and the building where Prime 490 is located are owned by Anthony Trusso's Tru Commercial Development, and the head chef from Prime is now at the Lenox.

FIN MULVILLE HOTEL LENOXThe Prime 490 location is on the market. It is a long-established dining spot, formerly home to Romanello's Roseland Restaurant.

- Grove Potter 

Quality, a Western New York tradition

Western New York is known for many things, including quality. Ask anyone who has moved away about the quality of goods and services in other parts of the country and you might hear longing for things done on time and done right the first time. We take it for granted how well people here do their jobs.

One recent example is Carleton Technologies in Orchard Park, now Baumgartner formally called Cobham Orchard Park. The folks there made some critical pieces of the space suit Felix Baumgartner wore during his 24-mile jump from a balloon, shattering the previous record. Carleton makes the breathing apparautus that high altitude pilots in the U-2 planes use. The safety engineers on Baumgartner's team contacted Carleton and the engineers there helped set them up.

As seen in this amazing ideo, everything worked beautifully.

That's quality.

- Grove Potter


Niagara Street getting some love; chicken not so much

 

Niagara Street is a vibrant commercial corridor with numerous small businesses Rich products and restaurants, but like so many areas of the city, it can use a little sprucing up. The giant corporate presence on the street, Rich Products Corp., has announced plans to invest $18.5 million to its facilities and headquarters. The project is expected to receive grants and tax breaks.

And the city of Buffalo is joining in the effort with a $10 million improvement plan for Niagara Street from Niagara Square to Tonawanda Street. The NFTA is also pledging to improve its bus service along the street.

The projects are coming at an opportune time. Niagara Street is a vital commercial corridor on the city's LOC CanalsideWest Side that will benefit from the attention.

Speaking of attention, how about the distasteful bill board that an animal-protection organization put up near Ralph Wilson Stadium? The group, called Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, advocates for a vegan lifestyle. It claims to have done studies that show E coli baterteria in more than 50 percent of the chicken it tested in area supermarkets. Billboard The National Chicken Council refutes the groups claims, calling them misleading. But the billboard is sure to get noticed. A man with red and blue face paint looks at a chicken wing beside the words: "It's a Crapshoot: Feces Taints 50% of Buffalo Chicken" 

Pretty crude.

- Grove Potter

Grant Street revival

If you haven't visited the West Side of Buffalo in a few years, you might Grant street be surprised to see what is happening there. The neighborhood that longtime Western New Yorkers knew as largely Italian fell on hard times in the past two decades. Today it is being reborn as the international center of the region.

Refugees from Africa and Asia have been settling on the West Side, drawn by low cost housing and the beginnings of new ethnic neighborhoods. To serve this growing population, entrepreneurs have been opening stores and restaurants along Grant Street. Imported clothing and food can be found in numerous shops. The Westminster Economic Development Initiative is expanding its business Grant street2incubator/bazaar to host up to 22 vendors at 25 Grant St. It's the beginning of a grass-roots renaissance the city has been awaiting. 

- Grove Potter

 

 

    

Cool tools on Business page

The online Business section of The Buffalo News has some very interesting tools - but they are a little hard to find.

Near the top right corner of the Business home page is a section called "Stock Watchlist," a list of big moving stocks of the day. In the bottom right corner of that section is a green button called "Markets."

Clicking that green button opens a range of stock market tools that are in real time and are fun to navigate.  For instance, the first button on the top bar is "Buffalo Local Index."  Clicking that takes you to an interactive page built around the public companies that are either headquartered in Western New York or have a substantial presence.

The next button, "Markets," takes you to a real-time page on the stock market.

There are also buttons on "Mutual funds," different market "Sectors,"  and "Rates," which is loans, mortgages, and CD's.

But the one I like to use is the last botton, called "Tools."  Here you create a password (it's free), and then you can set up a portfolio that is tracked in real time. You can put stocks and funds you really own, or set up a fantasy portfolio. I set up a fantasy portfolio with $1,000 a few weeks ago. I 'bought' Ford, GE, Toyota, Verizon and Yahoo. Today, I'm up 91 cents. (So much for my stock picking ability.)

It's fun, and it sharpens your focus on what's happening in the market.

- Grove Potter

 

 

 

 

 

Downtown signs of progress

A couple of stories in the Business section today point to the subtle but sizable transformation going on in downtown Buffalo. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership released its annual wish list for the coming year, focusing on the expansion of the Buffalo Medical Campus. In particular, the Buffalo business group supports funding the new children's hospital, the UB Center for Excellence in Materials Informatics and continued support to keep Roswell Park Cancer Institute a premier facility.

In another story, Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced he is pushing to expand to major federal tax credits to help with the revitalization of historic buildings, including the Statler Towers and the H.H. Richardson complex.

If all these projects and changes come to pass, the transformation of downtown Buffalo will contiue to advance.

- Grove Potter

 

Living high above it all

The idea of condos or apartments in the HSBC tower is an intriguing one. HSBC tower and Atrium Can better views be found anywhere in Western New York?

HSBC Bank USA is expected to move out of the tower when its lease expires next October. The bank has made no formal announcement, but it appears to be a done deal. Bank President and CEO Irene Dorner reportedly discussed the move in a recent senior management meeting. The bank has space in its nearby Atrium and its mortgage facility in Depew, so a move seems logical.

The law firm Phillips Lytle, the second largest tenant in the tower, is moving at the same time to its DONOVAN BUILDINGnew offices in the former Donovan Building being completely rebuilt next door.

So the question of what becomes of the 38-story tower becomes more pressing. Stephen Fitzmaurice, president of Seneca One, the tower's owner, hinted that residential development, while more expensive, could be an option.

The building is facing a $75 million balloon mortgage payment in January 2015, so bankruptcy is a possibility. A trip through bankruptcy court, a conversion of some space to apartments/condos and downtown has another premium residential option. Interesting...

Other recently announced downtown housing projects include:

Apartments at the HUB

Buffalo River Lofts

Larkinville

Tishman Building

Webster Block

 

- Grove Potter 

Craft beer pioneer

The happiest CEO in America might just be Jim Koch. The founder of the Boston Beer Co., Koch maker of Samuel Adams beers, was in town Wednesday to talk about his career as a pioneer in craft beer. And he is almost a Western New York guy. His father was born in Niagara Falls, and he is related to the Koch's Beer clan of Dunkirk.

Speaking at the annual Delaware North Cos. food and beverage summit, FLYING BISONKoch said there is plenty of room for more craft brewers. He saluted our local brewers Flying Bison and Ellicottville Brewing Company, and noted that more than one new brewer opens in America every day.

Koch's joy of making beer and starting a ELLICOTTVILLE BREWING Features EBC Wippert successful company was apparent to all who heard him. Cheers!

- Grove Potter

 

Madoff unraveled

When the Bernie Madoff scandal is long past, and all the recovered ill-gotten money is doled out to investors, and fines collected from the unscrupulous feeder funds, could it be that all of the lost money will be recovered? No one is being allowed to keep the fictitious gains that Madoff pretended he earned, but much of the money originally invested is being recovered. Amazing.

Numerous upstate labor unions invested their pention money with Madoff, through a Bank of New York Mellon subsidary called Ivy Asset Management. But a lawsuit filed by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the U.S. Labor Department and private plaitiffs, has resulted in a $210 million settlement. That, coupled with other money Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Madoff's assets, could make the pension funds whole. Amazing.

For the men and women who have worked honestly, expecting their pension Local  valleyparade scullmoney to be available when they retired, this must be wonderful news. The list of upstate unions affected are: Buffalo Laborers 210, Empire State Carpenters, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 463, Iron Workers Local 6 and Local 9, and Service Employees International Union Local 2000. Statewide affected unions are: Building Industry Employers, Building Trade Employers, New York State Lineman and SEIU Local 1199.

The story has received much coverage:

From the Wall Street Journal

From CNN

From the Albany Times-Union

From the madoff.com website

- Grove Potter

 

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