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Fall 2019 new target for Emerson Two opening

The Buffalo School Board had hoped to open its new restaurant and hospitality high school this fall. However, the earliest possibility is now September of next year, as lease negotiations for a site continue.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
The old Miller Livery Stable will be converted into Emerson Two.

It is usually called Emerson Two because the plan is for it to be similar, but different, from the successful Emerson High School on Chippewa Sreet. After negotiations with developer Krog crashed and burned into a continuing lawsuit, the board switched to an alliance with McGuire Development and restaurateur Mark Croce to convert an existing building on West Huron Street as the site for the new school.

"We're excited about the opportunity," said School Board General Counsel Nathaniel Kuzma. "We're excited about the opportunity that this particular location presents and that's why we spent months and months moving this project forward and trying to bring the lease to its conclusion, which we're very hopeful can get done in the near future. But there's still some work to be done and we're going to have our noses to the grindstone to get that done."

The building was an old livery stable and is located across a parking lot from the current Emerson. Kuzma said lease negotiations are continuing, with that September 2019 opening goal.

"We're still going to aim for that date, although we're still in negotiations for a final lease," Kuzma said. "The terms have not been agreed to yet with the developer. We're optimistic that we'll be able to get that done in the very near future and then the terms will be made public once that's finally completed, if the board approves the lease."

Emerson Two has a temporary site in South Buffalo, but it was only supposed to be for two years  - until a new building was ready. Negotiations have dragged on to the point that that temporary building has had kitchen facilities installed to keep the program going until there is new, permanent space.

The new high school is considered a high priority because it trains students for hotel and restaurant jobs and there is an increasing demand for young people trained in those posts.

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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