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Pegulas get city approval to expand downtown footprint

The Pegulas are expanding downtown again. The Buffalo Planning Board Monday cleared the way for conversion of an old industrial building into a brewery, offices and residences.

The building is the former longtime home of Hi-Temp Fabrication and Peerless Mill Supply. Located at Perry and Illinois Streets, it is just a leap across the cobblestone street from the parking ramp for KeyBank Center and up the street from the arena itself and HarborCenter.

Architect Paul Lang said the building will get a lot of work and will look different.

"Exterior is a pretty straight-forward restoration," he said. "We're going to remove the painted, remove the paint from the brick along the Illinois and Perry Street facades, following all the preservation Secretary of the Interior standards for restoration. The windows? We're still in negotiations with SHPO. We're originally proposing a checkrail sash replacement in the wood frame building and replacement in kind in the concrete frame building."

There are actually two-buildings and they will look more alike when the project is done.

"Primary entry to the project will be at the northwest corner site, right at the intersection of Perry and Illinois,' he said. "That'll access the first floor commercial spaces. The intended uses for the space are first floor brewery, themed restaurant with the second and fourth floor being offices and the fifth floor being residential."

A parking lot will be cut back to allow construction of an outdoor beer garden. While Pegula Sports and Entertainment will not say what this conversion will cost, it is around $20 million.

The company is considering moving its corporate headquarters from Ellicott Development's Fairmont Creamery to the new building, upstairs from the Labatt brewery and its corporate headquarters.

PSE officials say the priority is getting Labatt's brewery, restaurant and corporation offices open in the fall or early winter of next year, with construction starting this winter. Final decisions on upstairs office space and residential space will be made once Labatt's plans are complete.

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.