Big machine on Elmwood, sign of big changes in scenery?

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – New life could soon be coming to the Elmwood Hertel section of North Buffalo, and a sign of the changes that could be on the horizon—an old warehouse that was damaged by fire more than two years ago—is about to give way to the wrecker’s ball.

A quarter mile stretch of Elmwood Avenue, going north from Hertel Avenue, has seen its share of iconic businesses disappear from the local landscape, including the Kittinger Furniture factory, the M. Wile Factory Outlet, and a “Dickie’s Donuts”–a bygone chain of Buffalo coffee shops.

Now Uniland Development Co. is formulating plans to boost the Elmwood Hertel neighborhood, as Common Council member Joseph Golombek recalled more prosperous times many years ago, while standing on a vacant lot at the Elmwood Hertel intersection, “I remember when I was a little kid there was a gas station here. There was a doughnut shop across the street, more recently.”

But it is not as if the economic bottom dropped out. Several new businesses have moved into the area, including shopping centers, restaurants, and even residential development. Golombek says there is still plenty of room to grow.

“This is the culmination of Elmwood and Hertel developments coming together, and then hopefully opening up Black Rock-Riverside to further development.”

Uniland has bought up a number of properties along Elmwood Ave. and Golombek said the plans company executives have discussed with him are still very tentative, although an excavator in front of the old fire damaged warehouse seems to be a sure sign something might be happening soon.

Company officials are in the process of finishing the demolition of this long-vacant warehouse, known as the old Dow Building, which was damaged by fire on April 13, 2015.

Golombek said a top company executive told him, “Priority number one would be cleaning up the property, making it look better and making it safer for the residents in the neighborhood. I was very, very happy with that, and very optimistic about this development.”

Once Uniland’s plans start to take shape, Golombek said company executives have assured him they would be looking for some community input.

A Uniland spokesperson told News 4 they are looking at three general uses for their Elmwood Avenue properties: office space, light industrial, and retail, a mix that would be consistent with the neighborhood.

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