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Familiar developer approved for Emerson Two hospitality school

WBFO File Photo

After months of study and a recommendation, on Wednesday night the Buffalo School Board approved a site for its new hospitality school, usually called Emerson Two.

The school is about to take in its third class and is operating out of a converted elementary school in South Buffalo that has been fitted with an educational kitchen. The plan had been to have a permanent site picked in February and have the school open for the fall of next year. However, that did not happen.

In May, an in-house staff recommended an old livery stable on West Huron Street as the new site, but that stalled until Wednesday. Associate Superintendent James Weimer said the developer was approved.

"The board approved the preferred developer, to move forward at the Curtiss Livery Stable site on Huron Street, which we feel is the best site for the expansion of our hospitality program," he said.

The building is owned by restaurateur/developer Mark Croce and will move forward by a team consisting of Croce and McGuire Development. It is located across a large parking lot from the current Emerson and next door to Croce's Curtiss Hotel, where he has said the plan would be for students to work and have internships.

"We are committed to the School 28 students that are in the program now and providing them with the best experience possible, whether it's integrating them into the existing site on Chippewa Street until we have this other facility ready," said Weimer.

The school system did install a training kitchen in School 28. The new school will offer cooking and baking, hospitality and hotel management, as well as sports event management.

Because it has taken so long to make a decision, it seems unlikely the new building will be ready for operations in September of next year, although school officials are not sure on an opening date.

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.
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