A group of businesses are planning to create a new brewery district in the heart of downtown Buffalo. Developers are looking at the city's past as they move forward with plans for its future.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A partnership of Western New York businesses unveiled its long-term strategy at the grand opening of a new downtown hotel Wednesday.
"Beer enthusiasts can come and visit multiple different breweries and sample many different styles if beers made by different brewers all within walking distance," Brewmaster Phil Internicola said.
The businesses believe they can draw tourists from Canada and the surrounding area by creating a Buffalo Brewery District.
"My goal is not to try to grab somebody from Clarence," Pearl Street Managing Partner Earl Ketry said. "My goal is to pull them from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Youngstown, Chicago. Chicago? What are you talking about? You can't get Chicago. We think we can."
The district would be based around two breweries that already exist, Pearl Street and Pan American Grill.
"There will be a third and perhaps a fourth within less than two years," Earl Ketry said.
The managing partners at Pearl Street have plans to build on the Buffalo River and they involve the historic Erie Freight House.
"We think it is not only the exclamation point of these projects but we believe it will be one of the defining projects for Buffalo," Ketry said.
But another developer already has plans to build at the Ohio Street site. Sam Savarino said he's been approached about allowing parts of the structure to be taken and moved.
"We certainly would allow them to do that as long as it wasn't going to cost us anymore than we were going to spend to demolish the building and dispose of the debris," Savarino said.
Although he said he doesn't know how much of the asbestos-riddled building can be salvaged.
"Our goal was to try and save that property and our goal is we think its magnificent piece it's too worthy of our history to do that," Ketry said.
Pearl Street partners said although the project is ambitious they are confident it will work because of the success they've had with other ventures.