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December 22, 2014 - 11:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) president and CEO Steve Hyde provided the GCEDC board of directors a report on the agency’s annual performance in 2014 at its December board meeting.  The report included a review of year-to-date capital/business investments, pledged job creation estimates, advancement of the shovel ready phase of STAMP and initiatives with local governments, among others.

Hyde reported to the board that the GCEDC exceeded its capital and business investment goal of $32 million with a total of $58.07 million invested on various projects throughout the year, including the expansion of Yancey Fancy’s in Pembroke and Liberty Pumps in Bergen.  The agency did not achieve its pledged job creation goal of 200 with the pledged creation of approximately 141 jobs from new projects in 2014.

At the same time Hyde noted, the agency was able to put together an incentive package to retain approximately 98 manufacturing jobs at U.S. Gypsum in Oakfield.  In addition, agency staff helped the new owners of P.W. Minor navigate through the state funding process which helped keep the company open retaining approximately 50 manufacturing jobs in Batavia.

"It was another good year for the agency in terms of creating new jobs as well as retaining jobs at US Gypsum and PW Minor," said Wally T. Hinchey, Chairman of the GCEDC.  “The Genesee County economy continues to be one of the strongest in the region and 2015 should be no different as STAMP continues to move forward."

Significant strides were made to bring STAMP further along in making the site shovel ready for future development, including survey work, engineering and design work for water and sewer infrastructure. Of note was the dedication of $33 million in the New York State 2014-2015 budget for STAMP.  The GCEDC staff continues its close collaboration with New York State and NY Loves Nano to market and promote the STAMP site nationally and internationally to high tech manufacturers.

Another performance goal for 2014 was to enhance initiatives and outreach with local government entities throughout Genesee County.  The GCEDC worked closely with the Town of Batavia to secure potential funding opportunities to extend existing infrastructure at the Agri-business Park.

Lastly, GCEDC conducted outreach meetings with various localities as well as collaboration with the City of Batavia, Batavia Development Corp. and the Batavia Business Improvement District to implement the re-development of the Batavia Opportunity Area (BOA).

“The performance goals set by the GCEDC are certainly challenging, but if there was not a collective belief that we have the right formula for economic success, then we would not create such aggressive targets,” said Hyde.  “We look forward to generating even more economic development success in 2015.”

December 22, 2014 - 7:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

The new entrance and lobby for Batavia Downs is nearly complete and is open now.

There is some finish-up, "trim" work to complete, said Ryan Hasenauer, marketing director for Western OTB, but otherwise, it's good to go.

December 21, 2014 - 9:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, National Grid, STAMP.

Press release:

National Grid’s latest grant of $500,000 in the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) site in the Town of Alabama in Genesee County has now reached the $1.5 million threshold. Since 2007, National Grid has provided STAMP with various economic development grants to the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), which is developing the site and marketing it to corporate site selectors as well as nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing companies throughout the United States and the world.

“We are extremely excited to have such strong support from National Gird to help us bring the next generation of advanced manufacturing to Western New York,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “STAMP has received significant support from business, education and economic development groups and organizations from Buffalo and Rochester, so it is truly a collaborative effort to bring this transformative economic development project to our region.”

STAMP is a 1,250-acre site and is aligned to attract the next generation of nanotechnology companies, including semiconductor chip fabs, flat panel displays, solar, bio-manufacturing, and advanced manufacturing companies to New York State. Most recently, STAMP was appropriated $33 million in the 2014-15 state budget to bring the site to a shovel-ready status. This funding will be used for pre-construction engineering, sewer and water lines and other utility hook-ups and other infrastructure enhancements.

“We have seen a number of major gains in the bringing new and advanced technologies to the region, and we’re confident that STAMP will continue the significant economic development momentum in the region in the science, technology and advanced manufacturing areas,” said Dennis Elsenbeck, regional executive for National Grid in Western New York.“

“The GCEDC has an excellent track record in economic development, as evidenced most recently by the construction of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, which led to the construction to two major yogurt manufacturing facilities,” said Arthur W. Hamlin, director, economic development and corporate citizenship at National Grid. “We are optimistic that the same ‘build it and they will come’ approach used at the agri-business park will also reap significant economic development and job outcomes at the STAMP site.”

STAMP is located in the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) low-cost hydropower zone. The site is within a 60-minute commute of 2.1 million residents from the Rochester and Buffalo metro regions as well as six university centers with more than 17,000 enrolled engineering students. According to GCEDC officials, STAMP has the potential to generate $30-$50 billion in investment and employ up to 10,000 workers on-site. The supply chain impact could add another 50,000 jobs.

The grants to the GCEDC are from a number of National Grid programs, including the Strategic Economic Development Program designed to increase effective marketing and sales initiatives aimed at “strategic targets.” This program provides expertise and incremental resources to leverage more and better macro-level business attraction research, marketing and sales efforts. Other grants have helped support hard infrastructure improvements to the site. Information about National Grid’s suite of economic programs is available at www.shovelready.com.

December 19, 2014 - 2:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Rancho Viejo, El Burrito Loco.

How would you like your burrito? Hot and spicy or mild and flavorful? Steak, ground beef, chicken or pork, or maybe just beans and rice? However you like your burritos, whether it's the same recipe today and tomorrow or you like to mix it up every day, Leon and Maryez Ramirez promise you this: It will be made from only the freshest ingredients. 

The couple, who also own Rancho Viejo Restaurant on Ellicott Street, decided to open their new place, El Burrito Loco, in the Valu Plaza because they thought Batavia needed a place like this.

"The reason we came out with this idea is because there's nothing like this in Batavia," Leon said. "People are always looking for different places to eat and me and my wife always had this idea."

The restaurant seats 60, but burritos and tacos always make great to-go food.

Maryez is planning on expanding the menu to include salads -- healthy salads, she says, and always fresh -- and natural fruit drinks.

The Ramirez's said Rancho Viejo is doing very well and they think the new place will complement their existing restaurant, offering another style of food and dining for residents hungry for Mexican cuisine.

"We want to invite people in," Leon said. "Me, my wife and my family, we appreciate everybody in Batavia and surrounding areas for their support at Rancho and we hope they like this one, too."

Photo: Leon, Maryez, Alicia and Elkim.

December 12, 2014 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Oliver's Candies.

Some might call the Oliver's Candies sign iconic, but objects only become iconic with age, and age means expensive to maintain and problem-plagued.

That's the case with this sign, according to Jeremy Liles, general manager of the family business.

The sign really needs to be replaced, Liles told members of the Genesee County Planning Board Thursday night, which reacted initially with kind of a collective gasp.

The planning board was asked to review the proposal because Oliver's is seeking a special sign permit for the replacement sign. While smaller than the old sign, it will still stand 20 feet tall and be nine feet wide.

If you grew up in this community, you grew up with this sign and all that it represents. The sign has been in place since at least the 1950s. Liles is nervous some might react negatively to replacement of the sign, but he said every effort has been made to ensure it maintains its classic character.

The logo will change, the color scheme will change, but it will still be close to the same size and shape, will still be lit with neon and bordered by white light bulbs.

The new sign will be more energy efficient and will also feature a programmable message board, which, by law, will only post a new message in each 24-hour period. The update will mean no longer assigning an employee the task of changing the message on the board by hand on a less frequent basis.

Such a change of a seemingly iconic sign in Batavia isn't anything new. In 2012, Batavia Downs took down its classic neon sign and replaced it with a sign that uses LED lights, but otherwise looks exactly like the old sign. If you didn't know better, it would be hard to tell the difference.

That's the hope of Liles with this sign change, he said. In fact, Oliver's will hire the same company as Batavia Downs to build and install the new sign.

After cutting the expense of maintenance and electricity, the next important reason for changing the sign is for Oliver's to be consistant in its branding. The current logo is the Oliver's name with a cup pouring chocolate, which is not part of the current Oliver's sign.

"Brand recognition is important," Liles told the board. "You all recognize the Nike swish when you see it and when the world sees that logo I want them to think chocolate."

The new sign will also use the brown chocolate color that is part of Oliver's branding scheme now.

The county planning board recommended approval of the new sign permit. The City's planning board must approve it next before work can begin.

Below is an artist's rendering of the proposed new sign.

December 12, 2014 - 7:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Pavilion, planning, land use.

Dollar General would like to build a new store in Pavilion, but the proposal got a cold reception from the Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night.

The proposed location is less than 1,000 feet from the high school, and with heavy, speedy truck traffic on Route 63 and no sidewalks between the school and the store, board members thought the location presents a safety hazard.

Planners also thought the proposal doesn't fit within Pavilion's comprehensive plan.

However, the location is the one picked by town officials, Todd Hamula, a development manager for Zeremba Group, who is representing Dollar General in the project.

Originally, the company was looking at a location closer to the school, but town officials were worried about students leaving campus to go to the store, so a compromise was found with the location further away.

The location also gives the town a chance to appeal to the Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit along that stretch of road to 35 mph (the location is right near the current dividing line between a 35 mph zone and 55 mph zone).  

Hamula said Dollar General wants its stores on roads with speed limits less than 55 mph, which ruled out locations further south.

He also said the company picked the location because they believe it's well suited to the comprehensive plan. He said rezoning the property would merely extend the current business district area around Route 63 and Route 19.  

Planners thought it too far away from the current business area to meet that goal.

"We work really hard to make sure we don't bring a proposal for rezoning unless we have local support and that it doesn't go against the comprehensive plan," Hamula said.

While the town seems to take a dim view of a store within walking distance of the school, county planners were scratching their heads over the decision. The original proposed location would have sidewalks and a pedestrian tunnel nearby.

"If the concern here is traffic and kids walking, moving the location does not really solve that," said Board Member Lucine Kauffman. "I think it makes the danger even greater. Now they're walking further and there's no sidewalks."

She thinks regardless of the location, kids are going to walk to it for drinks and food.

"I think it's great idea to have place where kids can walk to after school to have a snack," Kauffman said.

The negative vote doesn't kill the project. The town planning board can still approve it with a vote of a majority plus one.

Hamula said he will pursue that outcome with the town planning board.

December 11, 2014 - 11:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

The Cuomo administration is handing out more than $1.8 million in grants to Genesee County projects, officials announced today.

The awards are part of $80.7 million in grants for the Finger Lakes Region of Empire State Development.

The largest award locally -- $1.5 million -- is going to Genesee Biogas, a Warsaw-based company looking to build a biogas generator in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Sen. Charles Schumer issued the following statement about the award:

“I was pleased to help make Ch4 Biogas’ first on-farm biodigester at the Synergy Dairy in Wyoming County a reality back in 2011, and I was pleased this year to support their application to ESD to replicate that success with the new Biogas Plant in Batavia. This cutting-edge facility is a win, win, win: it will provide renewable energy to the Ag Park, home to companies like Muller Quaker and Alpina yogurt, reduce the need to send waste to landfills, and help attract new businesses to locate to the Ag Park.” 

Previously: Company pitches idea of plant that converts food waste into energy at planning board meeting

The City of Batavia is also receiving two awards. There is $200,000 for a micro-enterprise fund. The money is to be awarded to 10 local businesses, five of which must be owned by low- to moderate-income people. The program is expected to create 10 new full-time equivalent jobs.

The city is also receiving $75,000 to draft a new comprehensive plan. 

"The plan will include public participation, an assessment of existing conditions and the development of goals and objectives based on LEED for Neighbhorhood Development," states the award announcement. "This project will promote the goals of the Finger Lakes Regional Sustainability Plan and serve as a model for other rural cities."

The Town of Batavia will receive $30,000 for eastside sewer planning.

The Village of Alexander will receive $30,000 for wastewater infrastructure evaluation.

The Village of Bergen will receive $30,000 for collection system study.

All of the projects are meant to spur economic growth.

In 2011, the Cuomo administration established 10 regional economic development areas. The 10 areas compete with each other for funding each year.

The largest chunk of funding this year went to the Southern Tier, which is receiving $80.8 million.

Western New York, which includes Buffalo, but not Batavia, received more than $50 million.

State Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle issued the following statement:

"The $80.7 million in funding awarded today will move us closer to our goal of securing a brighter economic future for Rochester and all of the Finger Lakes Region by creating thousands of new jobs and leveraging hundreds of millions in new investments."

December 8, 2014 - 6:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement.

Reposting the announcement below as a reminder that our contest starts today.

Some of you may have already noticed -- there are a couple of sponsor's ads on the right side of the page that if you mouse over the box, it flips over to reveal a secondary message.

This is a new concept in online display advertising and locally, it's only available onThe Batavian and the Wyoming County Free Press.

To help kick off the introduction of Flip Ads we're running a contest over four days this week (four days between Monday and Friday). We will randomly pick an ad on the site and make it a Flip Ad, and the secondary message will be a secret code. The code will go up at some unannounced time during the day and stay up until we have a winner. The first person to e-mail me, [email protected], with the correct code, will win $25 cash. (In your e-mail, include your full name and address. By participating and claiming you're prize, you're agreeing that we can use your name to announce the day's winner).

Easy to win: mouse over ads and find the Flip Ad with the secret code, like an Easter Egg hunt.

Sponsors: Interested in Flip Ads? Contact Lisa Ace, [email protected], or (585) 250-4118, to sign up.

CLARIFICATION: The contest isn't just to identify which ads are Flip Ads. It's to find the one that has a secret code under it. When you flip the ad, there will be a word or numbers or phrase that you need to e-mail to me. I'm getting a lot of people sending me the names of the advertisers with Flip Ads (Reed Eye and Kreative Kitchen), but that's not how the contest works. But thanks for playing!

December 6, 2014 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, zoning, Frost Ridge Campground.

The failure to publish a public notice prior to a September 2013 Le Roy Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on whether Frost Ridge Campground was in violation of zoning laws deprived neighbors of an opportunity to meaningfully participate in the board's decision, Judge Robert C. Noonan wrote in a ruling issued Friday.

The ruling was in response to a motion by the defendants, Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell, to have a lawsuit thrown out that challenges their ability to host live music concerts at the campground.

"The ZEO (Zoning Enforcement Officer)/ZBA's lack of compliance with the notice requirements was so grievous that no statute of limitations bars this action," Noonan wrote in the decision.

Noonan's ruling means that the lawsuits against Frost Ridge will proceed to trial.

The Luetticke-Archbells are fighting two lawsuits over live music at their natural amphitheater, and allegations that the campground was expanded in violation of zoning codes.

One lawsuit was filed by David and Marney Cleere and Scott and Betsy Collins, the other by the Town of Le Roy.

To date, the case has been a series of motions and hearings, but it appears that Noonan's ruling on this motion clears the way for trial.

December 4, 2014 - 5:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, BID, Christmas in the City.

City workers were busy with tasks Downtown today getting things ready for Christmas in the City tomorrow evening, including making sure the snowflakes on the light poles are ready to illuminate correctly.

Tomorrow's events:

4 to 8 p.m., Photos with Santa
97 Main St.

Lighting of Downtown Christmas Tree, 5 p.m.

Horse and Wagon Rides ($1), 5 to 9 p.m.
Tickets available at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, 8 Center St. Proceeds benefit the Business Improvement District.

Trolley Rides to the Wonderland of Trees at the Holland Land Office Museum, 5 to 9 p.m.
Jackson Street Parking Lot (across from Valle Jewelers)
Trolley will continue throughout the night to bring people back and forth to the museum and Jackson Street parking lot. Trolley runs approximately every 15 minutes. The Holland Land Office Museum (HLOM) will be offering free refreshments for the event as well as gift baskets and discount sales in the gift shop.

GO ART!, Frosted Panes exhibit
The Genesee Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO ART!) is pleased to announce its annual holiday show on exhibit through Dec. 19th in Batavia. This year's theme, "Frosted Panes," exhibits 43 pieces by 14 local artists on display in two GO ART Galleries -- the GO ART! Main Gallery in Seymour Place and at the Genesee County Senior Center on Bank Street.
A FREE Meet-the-Artists Reception will be held in conjunction with Batavia's Christmas in the City.

Batavia Concert Band, 6 p.m., City Centre

Holiday Parade, 6:30 p.m.
Parade will take place on Main Street starting at Liberty Street and ending at Jackson Street. More than 40 participants will entertain you with music, floats, singing, a juggler, fire trucks, and more! Santa will choose a child from his "Nice List" to ride with him in the Horse & Wagon!

The following Downtown businesses will be hosting special events as well:

Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle -- 8 Center St.; Enjoy holiday specials, drawing/prizes, coupons, and their famous chili during the Christmas in the City festivities. Tickets for the Horse & Wagon rides may purchased inside of Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle. For questions, call (585) 343-0548.

Amy's Fluffy Friends -- 238 Ellicott St.; Have your pet's photo or group photos taken by Along Photography. Only $5 for a photo shoot! Amy's will also be offering a raffle with doggie treats. For questions, call (585) 343-0052.

Charles Men's Shop -- 200 E. Main St.; Stay warm and enjoy holiday discounts and warm refreshments! For questions, call (585) 343-2086.

City Slickers -- 59 Main St.; Celebrate the season with City Slickers' awesome deal with a Buy 1 Entree, Get the 2nd at Half Price. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a local band playing for the evening. Be sure to also purchase your "Dinner & a Movie" gift certificates as stocking stuffers! For questions, call (585) 345-6788.

Edward Jones -- 7 Jackson St.; Get out of the cold for a little while and enjoy a hot drink and cookies courtesy of Edward Jones. For questions, call (585) 345-1773.

Karen's Yarn, Paper, Scissors -- 39 Jackson St.; 10% holiday discounts on scrapbook paper and yarn! After the parade, stop by Karen's to get a free balloon animal courtesy of Jason the Juggler.

Marchese Computer -- 220 Ellicott St.; With coupons and refreshments, learn more about their holiday specials including computers starting at $349.99! For questions, call (585) 343-2713.

Sweet Pea's Cupcakery Cafe -- 23 Jackson St.; Offering free samples of cookies. Perhaps you'll want to come back to purchase some for Santa for Christmas Eve? For questions, call (585) 344-5627.

T-Shirts, Etc. -- 111 Main St.; T-shirt coloring for kids! Holiday specials include a Buy One, Get One at 50% off. Also, be sure to visit their guest vendor, Butterfly Studio. For questions, call (585) 345-1993.

UMTOO -- 317 Ellicott St.; Will be open until 9 p.m. and will have Christmas refreshments, Christmas stories (traditional and historical), and Christmas songs by local singers who will engage people to join in singing. For questions, call (585) 993-2325.

Valle Jewelers -- 21 Jackson St.; Will be offering holiday specials for that evening only. For questions, call (585) 343-3372. 

December 3, 2014 - 8:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisment.

Some of you may have already noticed -- there are a couple of sponsor's ads on the right side of the page that if you mouse over the box, it flips over to reveal a secondary message. 

This is a new concept in online display advertising and locally, it's only available on The Batavian and the Wyoming County Free Press.

To help kick off the introduction of Flip Ads, we're going to run a contest on four days next week (four days between Monday and Friday). Will will randomly pick an ad on the site and make it a Flip Ad, but the secondary message will be a secret code. The code will go up at some unannounced time during the day and stay up until we have a winner. The first person to e-mail me, [email protected], with the correct code, will win $25 cash. (We'll post a reminder Monday morning about the contest.)

After the first week, we'll run the same contest once a week.

Easy to win: mouse over ads and find the Flip Ad with the secret code, like an Easter Egg hunt.

Can you find the two ads running now that are Flip Ads?

Sponsors: Interested in Flip Ads? Contact Lisa Ace, [email protected], or (585) 250-4118, to sign up.

December 3, 2014 - 6:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Le Roy New York LLC.

A group of Le Roy residents who once tried to save the Wiss Hotel with a unique community-based investment structure have found a new target for their revitalization efforts: 24 Main Street.

Le Roy New York, LLC, is looking to raise the funds necessary to refurbish the now vacant mixed-use building, which was most recently Java's Coffee Shop.

"Our goal is to create three beautiful residential apartments on the second and third floors and create a vibrant commercial establishment on the ground floor," said Bob Fussell, one of the organizers.

The group needs to raise $250,000, and already has $177,000 toward that goal, mostly from contractors who are contributing labor, equipment and expertise as their primary investment.

A minimum investment in the project is $1,500.

A similar structure for community investment in a revitalization project, led by Rick Hauser, has been used in Perry to help transform that community's downtown.

Hauser, now the mayor of Perry, was a consultant to the group on the Wiss Hotel proposal, which eventually fell short of the group's goal to buy the building and restore it rather than see it demolished.

For more information, visit 24mainleroy.org

The building will be open for tours during Winterfest this Friday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

December 3, 2014 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce.

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 43rd Annual Awards Ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Clarion Hotel, Park Road, Batavia. This is the County’s premier event that honors businesses and individuals for achievements in business, community service and volunteerism. Tickets are $50 per person or a table of 10 for $450.

The evening begins at 5:30 with hors d’oeuvres, entrée tables & cash bar (no formal sit-down dinner is to be served). The Award Program starts at 7 where dessert and coffee will be served. 

This year’s honorees are: 

  • Business of the Year -- Applied Business Systems, Inc.  
  • Industry of the Year -- Müller Quaker Dairy
  • Agricultural Business of the Year -- Corcoran Combining & Trucking  
  • Innovative Community Contribution of the Year -- Merrill Lynch
  • Special Service Recognition of the Year -- Genesee Cancer Assistance, Inc.
  • Geneseeans of the Year, “Peggy” Margaret Lamb, of Oakfield, and William “Bill” Schutt, of Basom
December 2, 2014 - 6:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

Local artist Brandi Bruggman this week is recreating two Christmas works by Norman Rockwell on the windows of Steve Hawley's Insurance Center on Main Street. The festive windows will be among those Downtown displays in the BID's annual Christmas window display contest.

November 29, 2014 - 3:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, agriculture, NY Craft Malt.

Ted and Patricia Hawley hosted several dozen beer lovers at their malt house on the Hawley Farm on Bank Street Road today.

The open house was a chance to invite people to come in and try some of the craft beers that have started using malt from NY Craft Malt.

Breweries serving samples today included Fairport Brewing, Community Beer Works, Resurgence and Big Ditch. The brewers are all from WNY.

Ted Hawley said business is good. The company is selling all the malt it makes.

Previously:

November 22, 2014 - 3:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Frost Ridge.

It's the little neighborhood restaurant that could and it will keep chugging thanks to David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell, who purchased the longtime bar-and-grill at 107 Evans St., Batavia, this week.

Luetticke-Archbell have owned and operated the Frost Ridge Campground in Le Roy since 2008 and they see their new establishment as an extension and complementary to what they're already doing.

Most recently, 107 Evans has been Delavan's, which owners Bill and Pati Cultrara closed almost exactly two years ago to the day that David and Greg completed their purchase of the property.

They're calling their new restaurant Delavan's The Little Ridge and promising "great food."

The restaurant is situated in a residential neighborhood and David and Greg think it's a perfect location for the warm, friendly atmosphere they hope to create.

It's going to feature American cuisine, much like they already serve at The Barn Grill at The Ridge, which they say has gotten rave reviews from customers, such as "some of the best American food around."

"We hope to knock your socks off," David said.

There will be prime rib, baked chicken, designer hamburgers, fish fries and salmon, with Greg overseeing the kitchen in the winter.

"The fish fries Greg has been doing, everybody has been loving," David said.

As for the salmon, again, David promises we'll love it.

"Everybody who has ever said, 'I don't like salmon' eats his and loves it."

Since some of the menu will be a hold over from Delavan's, David said Bill Cultrara has graciously offered to share some of his secrets.

They also plan to bring in acoustic music and assuming they continue to host live music concerts at Frost Ridge (there are still a pair of lawsuits pending that challenge their ability to do that), the national acts they bring in will be invited to The Little Ridge for pre-concert meals.

David and Greg had given no thought of opening a restaurant in Batavia, and had no idea the location was available until they went to an auction of the contents of the building Oct. 27.

Once they stewed in the idea awhile, they couldn't pass up the opportunity, David said.

"Sometimes opportunities knock and this one just clicked," David said.

The two men, along with help from their children, staff and friends, are cleaning up the restaurant, bringing in new equipment, getting everything ready to serve customers again. They plan to open Jan. 1.

"This was like a diamond that needed to dusted," Greg said. "We see the potential it has. The charm and the smallness of being manageable for one and a Cheers-like atmosphere."

November 14, 2014 - 11:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, housing, Calamar, senior housing.

A developer seeking to build a senior housing complex in Batavia has filed a lawsuit against the Genesee County Economic Development Center over the board's decision in July to block the project from receiving tax breaks.

The suit alleges that the GCEDC board's decision was "arbitrary and capricious, irrational, an abuse of discretion and affected by an error of law."

The suit calls for a court-ordered reversal of the decision to deny Calamar a public hearing on the project and the proposed tax abatement. 

It doesn't ask the court to actually grant the tax breaks. Typically, the GCEDC board votes on whether to grant tax exemptions after a public hearing. Calamar is seeking to present its project to the public and give the public a chance to weigh in on whether it should receive more than $1.4 million in tax breaks for the project.

Calamar has a contract to purchase 33.4 acres at 3989 W. Main Street Road, Batavia. The development plans call for 110 middle-income apartment units rented exclusively to people 55 and older.

The developer, with offices in New York, Canada, Massachusetts and Nebraska, says it plans to invest more than $11 million in the project.

GCEDC's position is that the lawsuit is without merit. 

Here is a statement provided by Rachael J. Tabelski, marketing and communications director for GCEDC:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center is in receipt of a notice of a file of claim against our organization by Calamar Enterprises as a result of a recent vote by the GCEDC board.

We believe the allegations in the claim are without merit and will be determined by the courts as such.

As this is a legal matter, the GCEDC will have no further comment.

The suit implies that Calamar was misled about GCEDC's willingness to support the project and that the board's decision went both against GCEDC's own policy and prior approvals for similar projects.

The project was first presented to the board by Mark Masse, VP of operations for GCEDC, in February.  Masse said during the meeting, according to a quote in Calamar's petition, that he was looking for feedback from the board. 

Calamar said that GCEDC's attorney told the board that although the project wasn't manufacturing, "This project is authorized and allowable under IDA law."

At a March 6 meeting, CEO Steve Hyde reportedly informed the board that GCEDC had participated in housing projects previously, such as the Manor House and the Jerome Center.

The petition claims that Masse continued to work closely with Calamar officials on project plans and proposed tax incentives in the following months.

At a staff meeting in June, the petition states, Masse gave every indication the project would get a green light.

"At no time during this meeting did Mr. Masse state that the Agency had concerns about the Project or was unwilling to support the Project," the document states. "To the contrary, all statements made and actions taken by Mr. Masse indicated that the Project had the support of the GCEDC, justifying the significant investment of time and resources by Calamar."

The project was put before the board July 10 for approval of a public hearing.

The board voted to deny Calamar a public hearing on the project and Calamar is accusing two board members of a conflict of interest on the project.

Pete Zeliff (mistakenly named "Paul" in the petition,) and Ray Cianfrini both spoke against tax breaks for the project and voted against setting a public hearing.

The conflict arises, according to Calamar, because Zeliff is building a single-family residential project on East Main Road, Batavia, and Cianfrini, also chair of the Genesee County Legislature, sometimes provides legal counsel to Zeliff.

"The agency's mission is to further the development of industries and create jobs and that housing should stand on its own," Calamar quotes Zeliff as saying.

Calamar claims to have been unaware of Zeliff's development interests at the time of the meeting.

To further emphasize the alleged conflict, Calamar quotes from a story published in The Batavian where Zeliff denies there is a conflict.

In that story, Zeliff noted that the two projects are completely different and do not overlap intended housing markets. Calamar is building apartments for seniors. Zeliff is building houses for families.

The petition states, "Zeliff also acknowledged that competition was an issue influencing his vote," and goes on to say that Zeliff voted against the project to protect his own Oakwood Estates development. 

The characterization of what Zeliff told The Batavian is misleading. Zeliff drew the distinction between his own project and said he didn't see Calamar's project as competitive with it, but noted that another senior housing project, Clinton Crossing, has proceeded without government aid and has a waiting list of residents trying to move in. He said the Calamar project, if it received assistance, would have an unfair, subsidized advantage over Clinton Crossing.

Zeliff does not have a financial interest in Clinton Crossing.

The suit also criticizes Zeliff and Cianfrini for misstating how many jobs the project would create. 

Rather than just two jobs, Calamar claims the project would add 4.5 full-time equivalent non-employee jobs (contractors) as well as dozens of construction jobs during the project development.

The rejection, the petition states, was taken "without any findings or reasoning," which Calamar claims is required if the board is going against either past practices or policy.

Calamar is also critical of GCEDC for having a vague Uniform Tax Exemption Policy (UTEP), and notes that the state's comptroller's office had the same criticism of GCEDC earlier this year.

"The Comptroller found that this failure to have formalized evaluation criteria resulted in an inconsistent approach by the Board and a lack of objective evaluation of proposed projects," the petition states.

Calamar claims to have received tax incentives for similar projects in Niagara County, Erie County, Stueben County and Auburn.

There is a great need in Genesee County for such a project, Calamar tells the court. According to the 2010 Census, 28.5 percent of the local population is 55 or older and 23.7 percent is 40 to 55.

The Genesee County Housing Focus Group's strategic plan states, according to Calamar, "senior apartment shortages have been noted as a major concern."

Calamar's project would be marketed to people 55 and older with an annual income of $35,000 to $45,000, and residents would only be those not receiving government housing assistance.

The 117,000-square-foot facility would offer one and two bedroom apartments with rents from $805 to $1,050 per month. There would be a full-time director on site, with events, educational seminars, meals, exercise instruction, home helpers, cleaning services, health system services and transportation offered.

The 33 acres of the proposed project is currently assessed at $166,400. The anticipated increase in assessed value is not stated, but the total value of the PILOT would be $854,580, with Calamar paying 20 percent of the taxes on the increase in assessed value in the first year. Calamar would pay an increasing share of taxes up to 100 percent by year 11.

Other proposed tax abatements are $454,744 on sales tax for materials and an exemption of the $120,000 mortgage tax on the purchase of the property.

The suit claims both Masse and GCEDC attorney Russ Gaenzle were shocked by the board's vote and exhibits include copies of their e-mails.

No hearing date has been set yet for the suit.

November 13, 2014 - 1:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, thebatavian.

We've not done a post like this in a long time, but with the holidays coming on fast, it is important to remind readers of the importance of shopping locally as often as possible.

When you support the businesses that are owned by people in our local or regional community, you are helping to support your local community. As much of 70 percent of every dollar spent at a local business stays in the local community. That has a ripple effect of benefits locally, from employment to donations to local charities to more spending power for everyone.

At The Batavian, supporting local business and family owned business isn't something we do just once in a while as part of an advertising supplement. It's what we do every day. Our home page is a daily reminder to support local businesses.

Please remember not only to shop locally first, but please also be sure to frequent the sponsors of The Batavian and let them know you appreciate their support of independent local news.

Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle
Alberty's Drug Store
Alli's Cones & Dogs
Allstate
American Home Remodeling
Barrett's Batavia Marine and Sporting Supplies
Batavia Country Club
Batavia Downs
Batavia Gold Rush
Batavia Improvement District
Batavia Redemption Center, Eastown Beverages
Batavia Tailors & Cleaners
Beds 'n' Bones Pet Lodge
Belhaven Kennels
Bill Fox and Son Construction & Remodeling
Blue Pearl Yoga
Bob Harris Realty - Robert J. Gerace
Bohn's Restaurant
Bontrager's Real Estate
Bourbon & Burger Co.
Brighton Securities
Bubba's Landscaping
Calling All Dogs
CB Beach Mortuary
Cedar St. Sales and Rentals
Center Street Smokehouse
Chesley's Auto
City Slickers
Classic Optical
Council Opticians
Crazy Cheap Cars
Dan's Tire
Darien Auto Parts
D&R Depot Restaurant
Deep Blue Pool & Spa
Delre's Greenhouse & Garden Center
Derrick Monument Company
Detail Shop (Pellegrino's)
Dougherty Heating Company, Inc.
D'Tangles
Empire Tractor
Falcone Family Funeral & Cremation Service, Inc.
Falleti Motors
Fastec Automotive
Ficarella's Pizzeria
First Choice Travel
Floral Fantasies
Foxprowl Collectibles
Frankly Design
Genesee County Emergency Services
Genesee Dental Group
Genesee Orthopaedics
Geer Farm Services
Gilmartin
GLOW Jobs
Godfrey's Pond
Greens of LeRoy
Hair Studio 25
Hardcor Audio
Harris Wilcox
House of Kolor
Haul-4-Less
H.E. Turner & Co.
High Voltage Tattoo
Humphrey's Electric & Security
Genesee Urgent Care
J. Leonard McAndrew

Jagged Edges Salon
Jay E. Potter & Sons
Jim Saraceni - Prime Lending
John's Service Station
Karen's Yarn Paper Scissors
Ken Barrett
KleenAll
Kreative Design Kitchen & Bath
Larry's Steakhouse
L&L Transmission, Inc.
L.C. Mosman
Lamb Family Medicine
Lambert's Design Jewelers
Le Roy Counseling
Le Roy Hearth & Home
Lucky Ducky Daycare
Main St. Pizza Company
Matteo & Mullen, CPA
Max Pies
Millennium Computer
My Saloon
Nature's Best Hydro-Garden Center
Next Level Fitness
O'Lacy's Irish Pub
Oakfield Fitness
Oliver's Candies
Optique
Parmenter Tire, Auto & Truck Services
Pellegrino Auto Sales
Pembroke Family Medicine
Precision Lawn Care
Pudgie's Lawn & Garden
R&D Outlet
RW Vapors
Radley's Auto Detailing
Ray Station Coal & Stoves
Reed Eye Associates
S.C.O.P.E. of Genesee County
Santino's Pizza
Scooter's Restaurant (Le Roy)
Select Collision
Settler's Restaurant
Sloat's Tire
Smokin' Eagle Brew & BBQ
Southside Deli
Spirits
Stella Collision
Sweet Ecstasy Bakery & Bistro
T.F. Brown's
The Finishing Line
The Insurance Center
The Mane Attraction
The Manor House
The Rack Shack
Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel
Trash Away
Turnbull Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration
Valle Jewelers
Viking Valhalla/Rose Garden Bowl
Vinyl Sticks
WNY Fireplace Outlet
Watch Your Kitty
West Main Wine & Spirits
Western Regional Off Track
William Kent, Inc.
Woody's Deli
YWCA
Yasses Construction
Yngodess Shop
Yume Asian Bistro

 

November 13, 2014 - 1:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Willow Bend Inn.

In Western New York we love our BBQ, so it's not surprising that another Genesee County resident is finding his own success with slow-cooked ribs and his own sauce.

Mike Swiatowy has been running his own catering business for years. About five years ago, he added BBQ and this year, he said, the business has really taken off. So much that his wife, Kristi, gave up her hair and nail business that she's run for 25 years.

Three weeks ago, Swiatowy came into a new location for his ribs, pulled pork, brisket and chicken -- the Willow Bend Inn.

After serving wings and beef on weck at the Polish Falcon's Club for a few years, he wanted to expand and the partnership with the Willow Bend Inn has given him the venue to do that.

"It's worked out great," Swiatowy said. "I think it's a great atmosphere for BBQ."

We tried the ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket with beans, slaw and mac and cheese. We loved the meal. The meat is as it should be -- fall-off-the-bone tender, flavorful and moist. The sauce is both sweet and savory.

Swy's BBQ also offers chicken, pulled chicken, hickory-smoked chicken wings and traditional chicken wings.

There's also a full line of catering available. For more information, visit the Web site. Swy's is also available for fundraisers.

If you can't wait until Wednesday to try the BBQ at Willow Bend, Swy's is participating in the Holiday Festival on Saturday at Batavia High School from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

November 6, 2014 - 8:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce.

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce unveiled its 2015 Board of Directors at the Chamber’s Annual Membership Meeting at Bohn’s Restaurant Thursday.  

Serving on the Board in 2015 are Steven Beardsley, Bank Of Castile; Tim Call, Empire Tractor; Keith Conway, Z&M Ag and Turf; Dan Harvey, Graham Corporation; Dennis Kohl, Darien Lake Amusement Park; Steve Krna, Genesee Patrons Cooperative Insurance Company; Hiedi Librock, Town of Batavia; Jonathon Mager, Arctic Refrigeration Company of Batavia, Inc.;

Chan Patel, Clarion Hotel; Steve Pies, Max Pies Furniture; Michael R. Rivers, Rybak, Metzler & Grasso, PLLC; Chris Suozzi, Genesee County Economic Development Center; Joseph Teresi, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc.; Eric Wies, Clark Patterson Lee; and Jennifer Zambito, GCASA.

Keynote speaker at the luncheon was Vinnie Esposito, executive director of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Council. Esposito praised Genesee County for being a leader in economic development and predicted a bright future for the county’s business community.

Chamber President Tom Turnbull gave an overview of the past year at the Chamber and outlined plans for 2015 initiatives. According to Turnbull, the Chamber will continue to fulfill its mission to create an environment for business success and improve the quality of life for all citizens of Genesee County.    

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Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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