The clock strikes midnight, but no glass slipper for Elmwood business

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It is one of the first things that catch your eye, as you enter Elmwood Village–chain link fences enclosing houses and storefronts at the corner of Elmwood and Forest avenues–except for the sign shop right at the corner.

Now even ENS Signs is going dark, as that section of the village bows out for a new housing development. The mythical clock struck midnight for Clarence Carnahan’s small sign shop but there was no fairy tale ending.

“It is a Cinderella story, it’s just the shoe doesn’t fit.”

Carnahan is the last holdout among the businesses along Elmwood Ave. where the Chason Affinity apartment complex is planned. The Elmwood Village business owner fought developers down to the wire, until a city court judge enforced a previous order to vacate the property.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Carnahan has 72 hours to move to his new location, which is slightly less than a mile away, “I’m still on Elmwood, but I just really do not want to leave the neighborhood, but it is what it is.”

The Chason Affinity development calls for razing 11 buildings at Elmwood and Forest avenues, then replacing them with a 40-unit apartment complex. The project has sparked controversy just about every step of the way, and the sign shop owner is sentimental about leaving Elmwood Village.

“I’ve been in the Elmwood Village so long. When we were in high school we were up and down Elmwood Ave. I really don’t want to go, but I’ve got to go.”

Once Carnahan’s shop is vacated, work crews will get busy shutting off and disconnecting the utilities, but many of the buildings at the development site contain asbestos, and it could take more than month to remove that hazard.

Then the demolition begins. But with so many work projects of his own, at various stages of completion in his shop, will Carnahan be out in 72 hours?

“I am going to get done after I get some help,” Carnahan said with a chuckle, “I will be drinking a lot of coffee, and maybe doing a lot of power drinks. But it’s got to be done, it’s got to be done.”

News 4 reached out to representatives for Chason Affinity to get a clear picture of their timetable, but so far, without success.

It is worth noting, Chason Affinity plans have been approved by Buffalo’s Planning Board, the Department of Permits and Inspection Services, and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The Preservation Board voted against the project, but the preservation vote was considered only advisory.

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