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$300K, 90 days expected to revive pre-Civil War building

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An old and tattered building in the historic heart of Buffalo, off Lafayette Square, may soon be revived as a home for a restaurant and residents. Architect Tommaso Briatico says the building was built before the Civil War when brick buildings were rising across the city and an address like 50 Broadway showed the building was downtown.

"It's an old building, but it's brick and because it's brick and it's in relatively good condition and it's in the right location, we were able to renovate it and use it effectively," says Briatico. "So we're very optimistic about it."

Planning Board approval of rehab was delayed Monday over questions about work already done and a Public Works Department request for owner Roger Trettel to build a sidewalk along Blossom Alley for access to the rear part of the building. Briatico says the developer is willing to put in a sidewalk on a city street if required.

"If the Public Works Department would allow us to put in a sidewalk, a sidewalk from here to here is not a big deal. We're talking about $5 a square foot for a sidewalk, if we could do that," Briatico says. "But right now I haven't mitigated that, but that can be done. That's not a deal breaker."

Briatico says there will be a restaurant in the front along Broadway and a bar along Blossom Alley and apartments upstairs.

Developer Trettel owns a number of buildings in the neighborhood, including an apartment building at the end of the block that could bring customers to the new bar and restaurant. The architect says the entire project is around $300,000 and would take about 90 days to finish because so much of the exterior has already been repaired and rehabbed and needed work is inside.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.