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Batavia City Centre

A 'torn up' downtown Batavia to bring new police station, appearance to Bank Street

By Joanne Beck
bank street construction batavia
Bank Street's water project is Phase I of a three-phase strategy to spruce up and revamp the area with updated infrastructure, a new police station and streetscape appearance. Work is to be completed over 18 months into late 2025. 
File Photo by Howard Owens.

If you thought downtown Batavia was at all hampered by some traffic cones and a driving lane shutdown these past several weeks, that was just the appetizer for an ambitious entree of construction projects at Batavia City Centre beginning this April, and a corner city parking lot a few months later, city management says.

A water project along Bank Street from Main Street to Washington Avenue has caused the shutdown of one lane and slowed traffic for several weeks now, as Phase I of a three-phase project in that section of the downtown area. Phase II will be the new police station and a groundbreaking in the parking lot at Alva Place and Bank Street is expected to begin early this summer.

The police station, which will eventually move the department out of its 10 Main St. headquarters at Brisbane Mansion next to the county jail, will begin its journey of construction across from the Jerome Center in late spring, or early summer, Public Works Director Brett Frank said.

A third phase will complete the work in 2025 with a streetscape to more narrowly confine Bank Street, Frank said during Monday’s business meeting.

“So the Bank Street water project, first off … we've got four service connections to put in there. And then in springtime, final pavement will be done. So that'll take care of that water main project. So we're actually going to do this project in three phases. It's gonna be about a month of kind of being torn up. So we started with the water line in the spring, early summer, we're looking to break ground in a new police station. So we'll do that," Frank said. "And then as that kind of comes to close to being done, we're also entering into a Bank Street traffic calming and streetscape enhancement project. Right now we're at about 50 percent as far as designs are concerned, so that will take place on the back end of the police station. 

"So that'll kind of be what culminates, wraps everything, kind of ties it all together. Right now, tentatively, we're looking at 2025, next summer, as to actually the following summer, as to when we get into construction for that project," he said. "That will be a typical project where we’ll go to bid. It is a federal project like the Richmond Harvester project where it's at 80 percent federally reimbursed, and the remaining 20 percent will be paid for using funding. So it'll be the source of revenue for that.”

The Bank Street water project received a $334,000 grant for the total $418,000 project cost, and the city received a $2.5 million USDA grant to put towards the $15.5 million police station expense. A $944,934 grant will offset the total $1,113,920 cost of the Bank Streetscape project, which is the only one of those three still in the design phase. 

New mall entries on the horizon, silo replacement begins in April

By Joanne Beck
File Photo by Howard Owens

Those damp, moldy mall entrances will finally get torn out and replaced beginning April 15, Erik Fix says. 

Contracts are in place and the contractors are working on the procurement of supplies, the assistant city manager said Friday in response to The Batavian’s request for an update.

“The plan is to have everything needed on site prior to starting, so once we demo, the project can be finished in 60 to 90 days, so that we can limit the amount of time we cannot use certain entrances,” Fix said.  “Some HVAC and electrical work may take place prior to the April 15th date, but that is when you will start to see the demolition taking place. The silos need to be taken apart one piece at a time, so it won’t be like a wrecking ball-type situation.  There will be plenty of communication prior to the start date to ensure the public will know how to access the mall.”

The entrances at City Hall and near Dan’s Tire will remain as is, so the public will have access to them throughout the silo replacement process. 

“We’re hoping to begin demolition all at once, they will take them all down and build them all backup,” he said during Monday’s City Council business meeting.

Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding of about $1 million has been set aside for the silo project, with $120,000 for the design process and the remaining money for actually redesigning the silos. 

Optician sets his sights on family, travel in retirement after nearly 40 years

By Joanne Beck
Bob Chiarmonte, retired now after nearly 40 years as business owner of Classic Optical in Batavia City Centre, takes a seat in his exam room at the downtown shop.
Photo by Howard Owens

In 1984, Pete Rose returned to the Cincinnati Reds as a player-manager, Lee Trevino won his second PGA championship, the last Volkswagen Rabbit was produced, and Prince’s “When Doves Cry” was a Number One hit.

It was also the year that Bob Chiarmonte took a leap and got into business with Classic Optical, taking up his first property next to the former Jack’s Sports shop, now Hawley’s Insurance, in what was originally the Genesee Country Mall. Nine years later, in October 1993, Chiarmonte moved to his current location at 44 Batavia City Centre, and now Chiarmonte has retired and closed the store after nearly 40 years. 

“It's tough to put it into a few words, but it was a great pleasure and honor to serve people here, and the job that I do is a job that I love. Working with eyeglasses and contact lenses, helping people see, it's very satisfying to me.” -- Bob Chiarmonte
Photo by Howard Owens

A lot of things have changed during that time — the mall had many more clothing and shoe stores — and there was a longtime Sterling Optical that had been where the current Batavia Stagecoach Florist is, he said.

“I thought it’s either the craziest thing I’ve ever done or the smartest thing I’ve ever done,” Chiarmonte said during an interview Friday. “They closed the following year. It was just my luck I moved here when I did.”

That’s one of the memories he’ll hang onto now that he has retired as of the end of December. He obtained his business certificate on Aug. 9, 1984, and it would be 40 years this August of sustaining all of the challenges of legal woes between the Mall Merchants Association and the city, the aftermath of Urban Renewal, COVID and the resulting pandemic, and the typical ups and downs of operating a business in changing economic times. 

“COVID was tough because I was closed for three months. A lot of businesses went out of business right after COVID, because it's hard to get through that. I was able to do it … I'm sure I lost customers during the time because people don't wait. But I have a lot of loyal people that stayed with me. I'm very grateful for that,” he said. “A lot of the clientele that I've retained over the years actually became friends. So I will miss the friendship from the people that I got close with over that period. I have had some very loyal clients for all 39 years.” 

You might say that Chiarmonte’s path was chiseled while he was still at Williamsville North High School. His brother David, four years older than Bob, was an optician, and his father suggested that Bob also go into the field.

“So that's where I got the idea started. I got a job at a laboratory in downtown Buffalo making eyewear. So I was a lab technician, and I did that for several years, and then just decided that if I was going to stay in the business, I should go back to school, and get my license,” he said. “So that's what I did. Which, consequently, is when I met my wife, she's also an optician.”

He went to Erie Community College, which is where he met his wife, Lisa. After working some more, he wanted his own optical business, and ended up purchasing the Batavia location through a Buffalo optometrist who also had other locations, he said.

That optometrist had a lucrative state contract that catered to union personnel, such as prison guards, for Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties, and that “brought a lot of people to me,” Chiarmonte said. It was only when he wanted to slow down a bit that he signed off the contract and cut back on his hours three years ago, he said. 

He acknowledged that he was an eager 28-year-old when he first began, and now, at 68, he’s ready to take a pause to enjoy and visit family, which includes daughters Tristen in Colorado and Leah and his grandson in Vermont, and travel. 

He’s proud of what he and his wife largely did by themselves when moving into their current 1,100 square-foot site, which used to house a bank, Chiarmonte said, pointing in front of the counter to indicate where the teller line used to be. 

They had a wall and doorway built to form an exam room on the other side of the main reception and display area, and he built the mounts for glass shelving that displays eyeglasses. Lisa refinished all of the furniture — benches and chairs — that greets customers. 

At its height, Classic Optical employed four staff for reception, frame styling, and billing work, plus an optician. 

He served as president of the Mall Merchants Association for six years and was happy to see a final positive outcome when both sides came to an agreement. He believes that he is leaving the mall on good terms for the future, he said.

“The roof is fixed. All entrances are next on the docket. And there have been a few sales of property here, and a couple of new businesses that have opened. And I think if we continue on this path, I think it's gonna get better,” Chiarmonte said. “I’d like to see something happen with Penney's space, it's such a good space, but otherwise, I think the smaller spaces are going to be easier to sell. 

“I’ll still be in contact. I still have friends here, so people will see me around here and there. I spent more of my life in Batavia than I did in Buffalo where I was born,” he said. 

Chiarmonte has closed his shop, and plans to sell off the merchandise and eventually sell the property, he said. 

Batavia indoor market returns downtown, online market is new addition

By Joanne Beck
Oct. 30 2022 mall market photo
Fall 2022 File Photo of indoor market at Batavia City Centre by Howard Owens.

If you’re a believer in locally sourced products, made-in-the-USA goods or supporting small business, the Batavia Indoor Market is here to provide that opportunity, organizers say.

“Everything’s all homemade, it’s quality; it’s not coming out of China,” said Adam Garner of Garner Farms in Le Roy. “And there’s an online market of local vendors. You can order online and pick it up on Saturday just like you would at the grocery store. It’s a one-stop shop. There’s milk and eggs, produce, veggies and fruit, meat, mushrooms and cheeses.”

The market runs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 4 and 18, Dec. 16, Jan. 6 and 20, Feb. 3 and 17, and March 2, 16 and 30. It is inside Batavia City Centre, downtown Batavia.

In the market for some amaranth microgreens? Or maybe some honey nut squash, large blue doll pumpkins, Honeycrisp apples, maple syrup that’s chocolate infused, dinosaur kale or broccoli microgreens, perhaps? Or how about lion’s mane mushrooms to shake up that stir fry?

The online market lists 176 items, and orders will be open from 8 a.m. Mondays through 8 p.m. Thursdays the week of each market. Available items will change based on the season.

The items are listed on the site, where orders are placed and purchased. Current online vendors listed are Flint’s Maple, Botanical Ben, Garner Farms and Creekside Designs and Blanks.

City Centre regulars are to include Relevé Dancewear, Everybody Eats, Batavia Stagecoach Florist, Sandman Wood Designs and Magick Smoque Shoppe, with visiting vendors at each market. This week’s market includes:

  • Porter Farms - fresh vegetables, ground beef and lamb
  • Garner Farms - pasture-raised pork and chicken with fresh eggs (when available), homemade lard soap
  • Ladybugs Creations - custom gifts, including 3D prints
  • Meadow Moon Designs - jewelry and accessories
  • For the Love of Madeline Candles - handmade candles

As for his own products, Garner is proud to tell people about the heritage pork and chicken products that come from his Le Roy-based farm.

“Our pork and chicken is pasture-raised," he said. "They’re naturally raised, with no hormones or antibiotics."

To check out the online market, go HERE

For more information about the indoor market, email or call 585-813-8054. 

Silos 'will be coming down' after final redesign approvals, city manager says

By Joanne Beck
City Centre entryway on Main Street
A design rendering of Batavia City Centre's entrance from Main Street, courtesy of City of Batavia.

After what has seemed like a lengthy ordeal, a set of new, downscaled, and more affordable designs for the City Centre entryways have finally come back for final approval, City Manager Rachael Tabelski says.

This project has been time-consuming, especially since prior bids have been too high for the city’s allowance, and redesigns have had to incorporate different elements to adjust the price.

“Because the first round of designs came in way over budget. We didn't have to bid this out to realize we were over budget. We use a cost service company that kind of costs out your design and says, oh, this is what we think it'll cost, and it was higher than it needed to be,” she said to The Batavian Tuesday. “So we had to scale back a little bit on the design side, but we think we'll have a really nice project, and those silos will be coming down. 

“And we're going to be asking council to award those Tuesday.  It's going to be on a special conference, and then, hopefully, the business meeting (agenda).”

The four silos are separate tubed sections within each of the entryways of Batavia City Centre. They have been leaking and getting moldy, and city officials have wanted to change them out for quite some time.

They hit a snag when prior bids came in beyond their budget, and designs had to go back for revamping to reduce the scope and price tag. The city has set aside $1 million of grant money for the project.

City Council’s business meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10 at City Hall. 

Everybody can eat at new Batavia site in a month or two, owner says

By Joanne Beck
Zeke Lynn

He’s caused some excitement with a post online about his future business moving into Batavia City Centre, however, Zeke Lynn won’t be in moving in just yet, he says.

Everybody will get a chance to eat at Everybody Eats probably by the end of September or early October, Lynn said Monday to The Batavian. He is renting the site at 29 Batavia City Centre — the space with the checkerboard black-and-white floor once known as Cookies and Milk and other cafe operations.

“I’m hoping to be open within a month or two, I’ll be in there cleaning and I’ve got to get a few appliances, and a health permit,” he said.

When asked what the tagline of his place would be, the name says it all, he said. He plans to make it for mostly catering and take-out, for sandwiches, soups, salads, pastas, steak, and a few chicken dishes. The key is that there will be “things you don’t see around Batavia,” he said.

Think: Beef Wellington and butter chicken. Who is the chef behind the apron? A 2014 Batavia High School grad who began his cooking journey at as a kid, and never stopped.

“I really fell in love with cooking,” he said. 

He studied a bit at Brockport State College and worked at restaurants, where he “fell in love with it.”

“I’ve been cooking since I was five, I learned from my mom. I’ve always had a passion for it,” the 26-year-old said. “This is really a passion project more than anything.”

He would like to establish a cooking class at least once a week after he opens and is thinking of having wine and beer at some point for a tastings and pairings experience.

Mall Market vendors sought through May

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) is looking for vendors to participate in the City Centre Concourse Mall Market.

The Mall Market’s mission is to assist in revitalizing the Batavia City Centre Mall and we invite residents to attend the market and to aid in supporting our local businesses.

The Mall Market will be open from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays starting February 4  through May 27, 2023. (It will be closed April 15.)

BDC welcomes home business vendors, crafters, farmer market stands, etc. to apply and promote their business products.

The vending registration fee is $20 per Saturday, with the first vending visit being free.

Anyone interested in endorsing their business or promoting their products is encouraged to apply HERE.

Have questions, contact BDC Director Tammy Hathaway at (585) 345-6380.

Mall market assessed, tweaked and to be continued beginning Feb. 4

By Joanne Beck


While gathered around a table in the middle of the mall concourse Thursday, a group of stakeholders reminisced about the “hits and misses” during an impromptu mall market for several Saturdays last fall.

The group was led by Tammy Hathaway, director of Batavia Development Corporation, who had surveyed participants for feedback about how the market went in a first-time trial run.

“What a great group of people, it's the right group of people to assess that small little field test of using the City Centre concourse, as a little bit of momentum, like a market vendor space. We had fantastic feedback, and it was positive,” Hathaway said. “We want hits and misses, so that we can make it better, and everyone wants to move forward."

She appreciated their honesty about the critiques, and also about the one unanimous sentiment, Hathaway said.

“Every single one of them enjoyed being in here,” she said.

Issues to be worked out include pricing — which vendors said was too high at $40 per day — and the market’s hours of 8:30 to 11 a.m.

“Batavia doesn’t wake up until 10 a.m.,” vendor Adam Garner said.

Garner, a fifth generation member of Garner Farms of Le Roy, has participated in other markets in Le Roy and Rochester, and offered his perspective about what seems to work elsewhere.

Garner Farms was a regular at Batavia’s mall market with heritage pork and chicken products, and he looks forward to continuing to be part of it.

“Overall, it was good. There were weeks that were slow, but weeks, there's weeks that were above, that we had a lot more people than I expected. We’re hoping to get to expand as we have more people coming in here,” he said. “So we have an indoor market. There's nothing around here. The only indoor market I know is down in Ithaca. So we do Le Roy farmers market. We're looking into doing a couple in Rochester. I do one in the South Wedge. And then we do vendor events that we do in Le Roy. Our farm began in 1932 and it will be 100 years old.”

The group discussed moving the hours so they would linger into the early afternoon, say from 10:30 a.m. to around 1:30 p.m. Hathaway received a lot of feedback that a majority of vendors thought the total hours should be capped at three hours, with a rationale of preferring to make $150 in three hours versus $175 in four.

City maintenance worker Tom Phelps said that the mall facility used to be open to 2 p.m., and that was eventually reduced to not being open at all on Saturdays during COVID season, and now is back to being open to noon.

Other areas of consideration involve requiring vendors to have insurance coverage, making access easier for vendors with larger or bulky items, including some type of coffee station, how best to promote the event, and making it a family-friendly market with rotating activities and themes.

The general consensus of group members Loretta Delpriore of Batavia Stagecoach Florist, Katie Hobbs of Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Garner, Phelps, Pat Burk of Theater 56 and Hathaway was to resume the market on Feb. 4 with a focus on Valentine’s Day, and integrate themes from there onward. Hobbs manages a market for the village of Corfu and offered ideas to include kids in these events as well.

“So we created a very large to do-list of items to make this move forward. And it's great to have participants, everyone who sat at this meeting today participated in the meeting, and has the same passion for seeing this building full of life,” Hathaway said. “The goal is February 4 to reinstate the Saturday mall market and have revised hours and make it totally revised.

“I think we'll definitely go to mid to end of May,” she said. “So we'll have a little bit of time to let everybody breathe, regroup and everything before the outdoor farmers market begins.”

Photo of Tammy Hathaway of Batavia Development Corporation, left, Loretta Delpriore of Batavia Stagecoach Florist, Pat Burk of Theater 56, Katie Hobbs of Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Adam Garner of Garner Farms and city maintenance staff Tom Phelps evaluate last year's Saturday mall market in an effort to move forward with the concept beginning Feb. 4. Photo by Joanne Beck. 

Two Saturdays remain for Mall Market shoppers

By Joanne Beck

There are only two dates left for the Mall Markets on weekends at Batavia City Centre.

This week's Mall Market is to feature Porter Farms, Tastefully Simple, Garner Farms, Dilcher's Concessions, Tag-It Custom Creations, Wright's Homestead and Max Pie's Furniture.

The Dec. 17 registered vendors include Porter Farms, Tastefully Simple, Garner Farms, Dilcher's Concessions, Tag-It Custom Creations, Wright's Homestead, Max Pie's Furniture, Gracefully Designed, Flint's Maple, and Children Awaiting Parents.

The market will run from 8 to 11:30 a.m. on these Saturdays at Batavia City Centre, downtown Batavia.

The ABCs of early holiday shopping in Batavia

By Joanne Beck


Batavia City Centre's concourse was bustling with sellers and shoppers during a vendor fair fundraiser hosted by and for All Babies Cherished Saturday in Batavia. Dozens of merchants and crafts people put their wares on display for early holiday shopping or to purchase a special treat to take home. 



Photos by Howard Owens.

New use for mall concourse 'is a start'

By Joanne Beck


Meat and potatoes man: City Councilman Al McGinnis gets some food supplies downtown at the first-time Mall Market Saturday at Batavia City Centre. Kathy Riggs-Allen of Porter Farms was on hand with some of the Elba-based farm's produce. 

Four vendors and Batavia Stagecoach Florist greeted shoppers Saturday morning during the first of several Mall Markets at Batavia City Centre.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski and City Councilman Al McGinnis stopped by to check out the goods offered by local farms and companies set up in the mall concourse.

“Several other vendors will be joining in the coming weeks,” Tabelski said. “There were shoppers, but we need to grow awareness. The vendors all agreed it's a start.”

Considered a “launching point” for the initiative to put the otherwise vacant concourse to better use, city officials plan to continue the market throughout the end of this year. 

Hours are 8 to 11:30 a.m. on the following Saturdays:

Nov. 12, Nov. 19, Nov. 26, Dec. 10, and Dec. 17

Applications are still being accepted for vendors. The Mall Market's mission is to assist in the revitalization of the Batavia City Centre Mall. The cost of a 10 x 10 space is $40 per day, $100 for three days, and $125 for six days. 

Anyone interested in endorsing their business or promoting their products is encouraged to apply.

Tabelski has been promoting the weekend market, and plans to put her money where her mouth is.

“I will be there to shop as often as possible,” she said.

Photo courtesy of Rachael Tabelski.

Vendors sought for Mall Market

By Press Release

Press Release

The City of Batavia Public Works Department is looking for vendors to participate in the upcoming Mall Market.  The Mall Market's mission is to assist in the revitalization of the Batavia City Centre Mall.  On the following Saturdays, the Mall Market will be open from 8-11:30am: October 29th, November 12th, November 19th, November 26th, December 10th, and December 17th.

The cost of a 10 x 10 space is $40 per day, $100 for three days, and $125 for six days. Showcase your products or services just in time for the holidays!

Anyone interested in endorsing their business or promoting their products is encouraged to apply at



Saturday indoor market seeks vendors

By Joanne Beck


In the ongoing quest to make good use of empty space inside Batavia City Centre, city officials are hosting a Saturday morning indoor market this year.

Set to run from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays from Oct. 29 through the end of this year, the market is to provide shoppers with an assortment of vendor goods for purchase. There will be spaces sectioned off within the concourse area, and it’s on a first-come, first-served basis, City Manager Rachael Tabelski said.

“We’re hoping people will come out on Saturday mornings to enjoy vendors inside City Centre,” she told The Batavian Friday.

Spaces are $40 per day, $100 for three days, and $150 for seven days. It is open to any Farmers Market vendor or anyone else who has goods to sell, she said.

The city will be issuing more details about the indoor market soon, she said.

Tabelski also shared this week that a redesign of the Centre entryways has been completed and will be put out for bid in the near future.

For more information, call the city manager’s office at 585-345-6330.

File Photo of the concourse inside of Batavia City Centre by Joanne Beck.

Fall Festival raises $4,000 for All Babies Cherished

By Mike Pettinella


The executive director of the All Babies Cherished Pregnancy Assistance Center said about $4,000 was raised today for the nonprofit, pro-life organization through its second Fall Festival at the Batavia City Centre concourse.

"There are 90 vendors here and they're all doing well," Sue Sherman said during the event that ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. "They're selling their goods and it's a great representation of things that the community has to offer."

Sherman said ABC receives the vendor fees charged to the entrepreneurs, while "the proceeds they (vendors) make here are for the fruits of the their labor."

The procees comes at an opportune time for ABC, Sherman added, as it is setting up a house it has acquired to be used as temporary living quarters for the homeless women the organization serves.

"It will probably be between eight months and a year before we're able to open it for girls to live there. It's a work in progress but we're very thankful that we have one," she said.

The event has become one of the nonprofit organization's major fundraisers, she said, crediting volunteer Lucille DiSanto for her efforts in coordinating the show.

Program Coordinator Mona Doyon said she considered it "a blessing" to see the mall used again and being able meet and greet people.

She also said she is looking forward to ABC's virtual fundraising event this Thursday.

The agency will be hosting a free online fundraiser at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 in commemoration of its 25th year.

Le Roy resident Alexandra Andrews will tell her story as an abortion survivor.

A wife and mother of three, she said her testimony centers upon the ways God revealed His plan for her life, bringing her out of an orphanage in Russia to share a message of mercy, healing and forgiveness.

A registered nurse, Andrews is an active member at her church and serves on the ABC board of directors.

For more information, call 344-5660, go to or 


All Babies Cherished Program Coordinator Mona Doyon, left, and Executive Director Sue Sherman.


Rochester Regional Health "Baby Cafe" employees Jay Balduf, left, and Linda Lee Stoiber greet Barb Worthington and her grandkids, Fae and Arlo Hoisington.


It's all about unique holiday decor at the Creative Crafts by Lori table. From left are Rochester area residents Donna Erickson, Lori Mariani (owner) and R.J. Kessler.


Delevan area residents Sue McKay (owner) and friend Kristi Cain at Grandma's Love Boutique, which features mittens, bows, stockings, washcloths and scrubbies.


Checking out the selection of items at the basket raffle table. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Consultant: 'Stars are aligned' for beautification, expansion of City Centre Mall and Bank Street area

By Mike Pettinella



Everything is coming together at the right time for the City of Batavia to embark on an ambitious revival of the City Centre Mall and surrounding area, according to Ed Flynn, director of planning for the consulting firm of LaBella Associates in Rochester.

“We think the stars are aligned at this point,” said Flynn, during a presentation at Monday night’s City Council meeting at the City Hall Council Board Room. “We’ve got the agreement in place, executed for the City Centre. We’ve got the $1 million in DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) funding. And we’ve got a ton of other projects that are either in the pipeline or in the works downtown that are going to complement each other as they happen.”

Flynn, a Batavian, said LaBella Associates is the lead consultant for the state funded DRI project, working in conjunction with Underberg & Kessler LLP (legal) and Archer (graphic design).

An advisory committee also played a key role in pinpointing how the city will spend the $1 million, along with looking “at other things besides the mall property, and the mall building itself,” Flynn said.

Members of the advisory committee are Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski, Public Works Director Matt Worth (recently retired), Water/Wastewater Superintendent Bill Davis, Batavia Development Corporation Director Andrew Maguire, City Council Member Jeremy Karas, Paul Gister of National Grid, Business Improvement District Director Beth Kemp, and Genesee County Economic Development Center President Steve Hyde.

The group’s proposal centered on creating a comprehensive package of information about the mall and the city – “getting that information into one place,” Flynn said – along with defining mall concourse improvements, providing cost estimates, exploring additional funding, reaching out to the public and stakeholders, preparing for future development and satisfying agreements with owners of businesses in the mall.

“We have been working to not only determine the best ways to use the resources of the $1 million DRI grant at City Centre, but also future components of what the interior of our City Centre Mall and the entire campus would look like,” Tabelski said.

Key points of Flynn’s presentation included a plan for concourse renovations and options for mall merchants to enhance the façades of their businesses.

It also brought to light a theoretical component outside of the scope of the DRI -- a three-story, 70,000-square-foot residential/commercial building on the east side of the mall at the corner of Alva Place and Bank Street, adjacent to where the proposed new police headquarters would go.

“That is conceptual based on the market,” Flynn said, adding that developers have inquired about opportunities for housing and, possibly, commercial ventures. “It’s a vision of what could work and what is deemed by the public as acceptable.”

Flynn said the DRI grant would just about cover the cost of concourse work, which would consist of removing and replacing the floor tile (which currently doesn’t match); painting walls, columns and crossbeams; installing low-level lighting, and removing and replacing the silo entryways “that never have been very attractive or functional.”

He noted that the city already has invested about $600,000 to repair the roof – a longtime problem, with that investment completing its DRI responsibility.

Private investment to upgrade individual storefronts (not a cost to the city) for mall business owners are optional, Flynn said, but incentives of up to 75 percent reimbursement may be available.

As far as Bank Street is concerned, Flynn said the mixed-use building has the potential to generate $19 million in private, new investment.

“Obviously, there would be a lot of tax revenue that would be created as part of that, but also with all of the new folks living downtown and some of the commercial activity – it would create a lot of vitality downtown and start to enclose Bank Street, which is pretty wide open right now,” Flynn said.

He also presented figures revealing that there will continue to be plenty of available parking – at least 590 spots -- even with the new building, when considering off-street parking lots and Alva Place and on-street parking.

“I think the takeaway from this is with the project, you’ll be able to satisfy both the DRI and the mall agreement objectives; also, be able to potentially develop some lots … at the City Centre and create some tax revenue … and also that you have enough funding to actually do what you need to do at the mall with the DRI funding,” he said.

At that point, Tabelski reminded Council members that one portion of the roof has yet to be completed – near Dan’s Tire Service – and bids for that work will go out this spring. That piece is part of the agreement between the city and mall merchants, she said.

Council Member John Canale asked about the Downtown Theatre 56 plan to complete its façade work with the DRI money it obtained, but Tabelski said the cost of all the interior work left no money for the outside renovations.

“Our intent is to look at a Main Street grant to complete that façade work,” she said.

In a related development, Council approved a resolution to apply, through the Batavia Development Corporation, for a New York Main Street grant for up to $500,000 to assist Theatre 56 with the completion of its project.

In a memo to City Council, Maguire outlined the BDC’s successful track record of obtaining Main Street, Anchor and Building Improvement Fund grants, and noted that matching funds for the Theatre 56 project would include money from the Batavia Players and its DRI.

Maguire, responding to a question from Council Member Rose Mary Christian about the return to the city in property and sales taxes, said he couldn’t provide an exact figure, but would research it and get back to the board.


Renderings at top of the City Centre Mall entryways and concourse and rendering at bottom of a conceptual building on the Bank Street corridor, courtesy of LaBella Associates and the City of Batavia.

JCPenney store in Batavia's City Centre Mall to stay open

By Mike Pettinella

The JCPenney store in Batavia apparently has been spared from the ax that will come down on 138 of the company's stores across the United States.

The major retailer today announced that it will close three stores in New York State -- Dunkirk-Fredonia Plaza, Dunkirk; Westfield Sunrise, Massapequa; Palisades Center, West Nyack -- probably in the second quarter of the year which ends in July for J.C. Penney Co., but will continue to operate the store located in the City Centre Mall.

With its remaining 876 stores, "Penney's" will still have at least one location in 49 states and Puerto Rico. It has no stores in Hawaii. The chain's original store in Kemmerer, Wyo., at 722 J.C. Penney Drive isn't on the list and will remain open. 

The states with the biggest number of closings were Texas (nine), Minnesota (eight), Michigan (seven), Illinois (seven), Pennsylvania (six), North Carolina (five), Wisconsin (four) and Oklahoma (four).

Cutting out cancer at the Batavia City Centre

By Rick Franclemont

Le Beau Salon and a host of others put on a carnival of beauty as a benefit for the Voltura family.

Nicole Voltura, a wife and mother of three, is dealing with not just one terminal illness, but three. She has recently undergone surgery to remove a sarcoma from her leg. On Oct. 7, she went for her fourth round of chemotherapy to treat two separate rare autoimmune diseases.

This benefit helped raise funds needed to offset some of the medical bills and to support the needs of her family.

Nicole is the owner of Glitz-n-Glamour Salon.

Among the many activities for the whole family were nail art, mini-manicures, hand facials, make-up technique sessions, bling hair extensions, eyebrow and lip waxing, blowouts, and face painting.

In addition, there was a Chinese auction, instruction in hip-hop dance techniques and a Zumba class.

Paige Haile getting a mini-manicure.

Sponsers of the event included: Le Beau Salon, Suzanne's School of Dance, Hot Heads, The Mane Attraction Salon, Charley's Salon, Zumba with Diane Cox, Glitz-n-Glamour, and Tommy Nails.

For more information on how to make a donation please contact Erika Siverling at Le Beau Salon, 343-1017.

More pictures from the event can be found here.

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