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Press Pass: Officials await development plans for 201 Ellicott

Residential space in downtown Buffalo remains a hot commodity. Will that trend transfer into demand for a downtown grocery store? On WBFO's Press Pass, Jim Fink of Business First says city officials will get an indication Wednesday, the deadline for proposals to develop the property at 201 Ellicott Street.

"The city wants three key components: a grocery store, condos and a parking lot," said Fink, who noted that developers are being asked to submit Requests for Qualification, not the more common Request for Proposals (RFPs).

When the city accepted RFPs for the city-owned Webster Block, officials were reviewing the possibilities for the site which was eventually transformed into HarborCenter.

"Here, they are saying, 'This is what we want you to build, are you qualified?,'" Fink said.

Another development that merits watching is the former Freezer Queen building, which remains the last privately-owned parcel in the Outer Harbor.

According to Fink, the building's owner Gerry Buchheit is moving ahead with a $40 million residential-based development plan. It would feature 120 apartments and a seventh-floor penthouse with a roof top patio. The first floor will be set aside for a restaurant and retail space.     

"He would like to buy the Terminals A and B buildings next door that are owned by the NFTA. What he wants to do there, who knows? There's all sorts of possibilities," said Fink.

The economics of sports in Buffalo will be the subject at the Business First Power Breakfast Series Thursday at 10 a.m. at Riverworks. The panel features Kim and Terry Pegula, the owners of the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bills, Bob and Mindy Rich, the longtime owners of the Buffalo Bisons, Jeremy Jacobs, Chairman of Delaware North and owner of the Boston Bruins, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.