West Side Bazaar gets $1 million for new expanded location
Yet another old industrial building on Niagara Street is being rehabbed, as continuing redevelopment of the street attracts investment.
This time what was once an illegal liquor plant during Prohibition will be turned into a new West Side Bazaar. It will be a vastly larger replacement for the West Side Bazaar not that far away on Grant Street.
As announced Monday by Rep. Brian Higgins, the rehab is getting almost $1 million federal dollars. The Westminster Economic Development Initiative said the new building will open sometime next year.
WEDI President Steve Zenger said there are 100 entrepreneurs ready for the space.
"More than 40 businesses have incubated the current West Side Bazaar and 26 of them have graduated to full financial independence in the community. It's a model that works," Zenger said. "We will get five times the square footage here that we have on Grant Street and this will be good for our businesses and our customers. We're ready to increase the profits of our entrepreneurs and increase the tax revenue for the region."
Nile River Restaurant owner Akec Aguer said he's looking forward to more space for his South Sudan food business.
"That's why I manage the Nile River, is that everybody can eat at it," Aguer said. "So that is the meaning of it and I am so happy. I can't wait to be here next year. I want to make more than that, if I have finance. I want to make a difference for South Sudanese community and for the South Sudanese community in all, to make a difference in Buffalo."
The current West Side Bazaar features a mix of food kiosks serving an array of foods from the many immigrant groups that have moved to Buffalo in recent decades, as well as sales of items inspired by the cultures of those original homes. It's also a community gathering place.