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Common Council Approves Waterfront Restaurant Plans

By Howard Riedel

Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Common Council is giving the owner of the former Crawdaddy's restaurant one last chance to develop the property.

The Council Tuesday unanimously approved an agreement with Specialty Restaurants. The company has promised to build a $4.2 million, 950-seat restaurant at the Crawdaddy's site by August 1st of next year. If they don't, the city gets the land back and $500,000.

Specialty Restaurants closed Crawdaddy's in 1998, tore the building down in 2000, and had faced legal action to strip them of their development rights because of broken promises to open a new restaurant.

The Council also rejected a resolution calling for a moratorium on additional downtown parking lots or ramps until a master plan for parking is developed. Ellicott Council Member Brian Davis, who represents the downtown area, says the resolution would have sent the wrong message about future business development downtown.

"I think this (a moratorium) would send that kind of message. It is the wrong message to send," Davis said. "As much as I advocate for my neighborhoods, I'm going to do the same for our downtown corridor.

"If we talk about building out the radius surrounding our downtown, we're going to need to convince some good folks to come down here."

Davis would support a moratorium on tearing down historic buildings for parking. He reminded lawmakers that the Council voted in favor of expanding the Augspurger ramp at Huron and Franklin Streets that called for demolition of the former Church of Scientology Building.

Also Tuesday, the Council approved a new living wage law to replace one passed in 1999 that was never enforced. The new legislation calls for an all-volunteer commission to enforce the minimum wage guidelines for companies doing business with the city.