New Beach Bar, Apartments, Retail Space Planned for Ohio Street Corridor | Business premises
The Buffalo River is already becoming a jumping spot. And it’s about to get even busier, with a new restaurant and many more apartments.
A Tex-Mex restaurant in Amherst has announced plans to open a new waterfront and beach bar on a sandy area adjacent to an Ohio Street apartment building.
Papi Grande’s will take up residence on the north side of Ellicott Development Co.’s five-story project at 301 Ohio, using a pair of shipping containers to house a pop-up summer bar and restaurant that seats up to 1 000 customers, on what is now a fenced area between the building and Tewksbury Lodge at River Fest Park.
The popular suburban restaurant – at 4276 Maple Road – announced on social media that it will feature its popular drinks and tacos, along with live music DJs, cornhole, other yard games and events each week.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to add to Buffalo’s beautiful downtown waterfront!” the restaurant said in a post on its Facebook page. “Come for the signature margaritas and Liquid Gold Queso. Stay for the party.”
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Ellicott CEO William Paladino said he had long planned to put a sort of “beach bar” on the site, but put the idea on hold until Grandpa’s owner, James Spano, spoke to him about it last year. The restaurant owner hoped to open by last summer, Paladino said, but was unable to obtain the state liquor license in time.
“It will have cool music and you can sit by the water,” he said.
The restaurant will wrap around the back of the building to the patio along the water, in front of the space now occupied by marketing agency Clevermethod.
This 8,384 square foot loft space – directly across from RiverWorks – is being marketed to new commercial office tenants by Hanna Commercial Real Estate brokers Paula Blanchard and Joseph Deck.
And it’s attracting the attention of potential new occupants, following an open house last week that attracted “considerable interest”, Blanchard said. A tech company, a financial services and professional office company, and a healthcare company are “all taking a serious look at it,” she said.
Clevermethod has operated entirely remotely during the pandemic, and will continue to do so for now, but plans to downsize to smaller offices elsewhere, Blanchard said.
Grandpa joins Shuck Shack, a fresh seafood and oyster bar that Fresh Catch Poke owner Mike Tobin has operated on the south side of 301 Ohio for two summers. Like Grandpa, Shuck Shack used a few containers that he converted into a display case.
Rules for reopening restaurants and bars in Buffalo have not been finalized, but cities across the country have turned to outdoor dining as a safer way to continue business during the Covid-19 pandemic. The outdoor focus of Michael Tobin’s new project, Shuck Shack, has given him confidence to pursue his new venture amidst so much uncertainty. “We don’t want Covid
However, Shuck Shack will not be operating this summer as Ellicott hopes to start a major $75-100 million southward expansion project that could bring more than 100-125 new apartments and more commercial or retail space. retail on Ohio Street. corridor.
Plans call for at least three more apartment buildings with retail or retail space on the first floor, Paladino said, as well as a “parking structure of some sort,” on adjacent Ohio and Chicago Street. Each new building would be six or seven stories high, with apartments on the upper levels. Shuck Shack and Grandpa will eventually move into one of the new buildings as tenants.
The project still needs to be submitted to municipal authorities for approval, followed by brownfield cleanup work at the end of this year or early next year, and then 24 to 36 months of construction. But if the first two buildings go well, as Paladino expects, the developer would build a third building “and still have room for a few more.”
“We want to keep creating a new neighborhood there,” Paladino said. “We can do it smart, and just be careful not to take on too much at once.”
This would build on the success of not only 301 Ohio – with 21 apartments – but also Ellicott’s mixed-use cooperage project at 55 Chicago, which offers a mix of apartments, Resurgence Brewing Co., Hartman’s Distillery and Central Rock Gym.
In addition, there are the 78 units of Samuel Savarino Buffalo River Landing Building at 441 Ohioand Frizlen Group and BRD Construction’s conversion of the former Barcalo recliner factory to Barcalo Buffalo Living & Commerce at 225 Louisiana St. The city has also invested heavily in new streetscape along the Ohio and is currently working on a walk.
There’s also the other side of the river, where Ellicott also owns property on Ganson Street. It’s just down the road from RiverWorks, which draws customers for its restaurant, bar, and sporting activities. And Generation Development Group is redeveloping two of the complexes in Silo City — where Ganson and Ohio meet — into several hundred new apartments and artist spaces.
“People have been saying for years that we have one of the most underutilized waterfronts in the world,” Paladino said. “It’s become a pretty cool place. The more people we can bring in, kids and adults, the more it will take off.”