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Pegula Sports & Entertainment, Labatt USA announce plans for Perry Street building

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A building in Buffalo's Cobblestone District, purchased earlier this year by Pegula Sports and Entertainment, will soon be home to a new restaurant and pilot brewery, as well as other mixed uses. Officials from PSE and Labatt USA announced plans for redevelopment inside the building at 79 Perry.

The 70,000-square-foot building, built nearly a century ago, is located one block away from KeyBank Center. It has five floors.

"Labatt will be our anchor tenant and will be opening a flagship restaurant, with a pilot brewery, as the main attraction of 79 Perry's ground floor," said Russ Brandon, Pegula Sports and Entertainment managing partner and president. "This will be another tremendous addition to the emerging district near Buffalo's waterfront."

In addition to the restaurant and brewery, Labatt USA will move its corporate headquarters into the building. Glen Tibbits, general manager of Labatt USA, said the company hopes their new space, tentatively titled the "John Labatt Project," will be open as early as next July.

"It's going to be a lot of hard work. We're going to drink a few beers getting it all planned out and executed," Tibbits said. "But we're confident that the building is going to take shape fairly quickly. It's a really nice empty space, wide open. The designers are already hard at work figuring out the brewery component, the restaurant component and the office component."

The building's current occupant, Peerless Incorporated, is in the process of packing up and moving out. Bruce Popko, PSE's chief operating officer, says that company should be out of the building within the next ten days. He explained PSE's interest in acquiring the space.

"It evolved just because of its really strategic importance, being in this area along with the control we have of the arena and HarborCenter," Popko said. "It was the next phase of development we were contemplating."

But Pegula Sports and Entertainment did not have an immediate plan for what to do with the building. Ideas are still wide open for the remaining space, once Labatt opens its brewery and restaurant.

"There's a lot of opportunity there," said Kim Pegula, who was in attendance at Wednesday morning's announcement. "Just securing Labatt as our core anchor tenant, and the vision that they have for the brewery and the restaurant, that was key. Now that opens up a lot of doors for other opportunities."

Neither Mrs. Pegula nor anyone else from PSE commented on their two better-known properties, the Sabres and Buffalo Bills. The Sabres are searching for a new general manager and head coach, days after dismissing Tim Murray and Dan Bylsma from those respective positions. The Bills, meanwhile, are preparing to participate in the National Football League's annual player draft, which begins Thursday night.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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