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Buffalo Planning Board approves Dash's Market expansion

WBFO's Mike Desmond

Buffalo's Planning Board cleared its desk before breaking for its August vacation by approving the controversial Dash's Market expansion on Hertel Avenue.

The current Dash's grocery store would be replaced with a massive store at the corner of Hertel and Starin Avenue, with parking on much of the site of the current store. Owner Joe Dash said the project may cost $15 million before it opens late next year.

"My grandfather and grandmother started on the East Side in 1923. My dad was down the street in 1951. We had Central Park Plaza for 20 years. We've been on Hertel Avenue for almost half a century. We've been doing this for a long time," he said.

Dash said he has spent 10 years working on a replacement store. In one of many changes in the final design, the new building will have a 1924 map of the city on the outside wall showing all of the locations the family has had food stores.

The project drew a lot of opposition because of the heavy use of variances from the city's new Green Code, which regulates construction. Opponents focused on the building being much wider than allowed by the code and using a bunch of different building lots merged into one.

It has been a sensitive project because it serves as a precedent. There also was a glitch in City Hall handling the application, so new construction probably will not start until late September or early October, but demolition of other buildings on the site might start as early as late this month.

"We can demolish the three existing buildings to start work, but we won't be able to start construction until we cross, I think it's a subdivision variance or a subdivision or something we turned a subdivision into." Dash said.

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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