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February 23, 2020 - 6:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in FeBREWary, downtown, batavia, news.

It was a lot of fun shooting video of FeBREWary last night and I was looking forward to editing the footage this afternoon.

When I got home last night, I put the SD card in my computer and imported the hockey video footage. When that was done, I forgot to import FeBREWary.  

Normally, I don't take SD cards out of the computer and put them right in the camera for the next project. I rotate through them in order to diminish the chance of deleting something I'm not ready to delete. But that isn't what I did this morning -- running late to cover something, I grabbed the SD card I saw first -- the one in the computer. I didn't realize my mistake until I was ready to edit the FeBREWary video.

I was disappointed. My apologies to anybody who was looking forward to being included in the video and to the BID and Downtown businesses.

February 5, 2020 - 3:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, ellicott place, batavia, downtown, dri, GCEDC, news.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors will consider accepting applications for assistance from two Batavia Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) strategic projects at the GCEDC’s Feb. 6 board meeting.

Together, the Ellicott Station and Ellicott Place projects are proposing 65 new apartments that support Genesee County’s EDGE economic development strategy for housing to support the growth of Genesee County’s businesses and communities.

Ellicott Station is a $22.5 million mixed-use brownfield redevelopment project by Savarino Companies that includes adaptive reuse and new construction on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia. This blighted property is a key gateway entrance to Downtown Batavia, and the project would create 20 additional jobs to Downtown Batavia’s business community.

Considerable brownfield remediation, site improvements, and construction are proposed, including a five-story apartment building with 55 new modern workforce housing units, along with a brewery, restaurant/beer garden, and preparation for additional development at the 3.31-acre site.

Ellicott Station is requesting approximately $3.6 million in economic incentives, with a $2,105,792 property tax exemption, a $790,512 sales tax exemption, and a $180,792 mortgage tax exemption. Revenues from the project will also contribute to the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity brownfield redevelopment fund.

Ellicott Place is a $3.1 million redevelopment of 45-47 Ellicott St. by V.J. Gautieri Constructors that includes the creation of and access to residential and commercial spaces in Downtown Batavia.

The project will construct 10 second-floor apartments at the existing facility, along with the development of first-floor storefronts and building-wide façade improvements. The redevelopment of Ellicott Place is estimated to create nine additional jobs to Downtown Batavia’s business community.

Ellicott Place is requesting approximately $130,000 in economic incentives, with a $110,400 sales tax exemption and a $20,000 mortgage tax exemption.

Ellicott Station and Ellicott Place were among eight transformational investments announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as enabling the Batavia DRI’s strategy to drive new, mixed-use development, improved access to local healthcare, and transform public spaces for community use.

Since both the projects are requesting more than $100,000 in incentives, public hearings will be scheduled for comment and feedback to the requests.

November 30, 2019 - 6:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shop Local, Small business Saturday, downtown, batavia, news.

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For Small Business Saturday, Iris Bodine, 8, went shopping with her aunt Margie Everett at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle.

We didn't get a chance to visit local businesses until the afternoon, but several business owners said their shops were full in the morning and that it seems like more people seemed to be out shopping local on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving than previous years.

Dave Howe, Charles Men's Shop, said at least a half-dozen people mentioned the annual Shop Local promotion is what motivated them to visit local businesses today.  

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Stephen Valle and Carrie Lawrence, Valle Jewelers. 

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Chris Crocker and Leslie Moma, The Yngodess Shop.

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Don Brown and Dave Howe, Charles Men's Shop.

November 22, 2019 - 5:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ken's Charcoal Pits, batavia, downtown, business, notify.

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The owner of Bourbon & Burger Co. and The Coffee Press, Derek Geib, has acquired Ken's Charcoal Pits from local businessman Ken Mistler.

"Essentially, Kenny was just at the point where he wanted to sell and I was at the point where it made sense," Geib said.

What attracted Geib to the property was its location and its unique amenities, such as a first-class downstairs banquet facility, a brick pizza oven, an outdoor, all-season patio, and the walk-in food counter at the front of the building.

"Kenny's put a ridiculous amount of money and time into this location," Geib said. "It's got access on Main Street and from the parking lot, beautiful downstairs banquet space, the outdoor patio, which is unlike any other in Batavia. I mean, he's got one-of-kind pizza, the charcoal pit that's in the front. There was just there's so much potential in this space and in Kenny's put it in a position to be very successful."

Mistler purchased the building a few months after the former South Beach Restaurant closed its doors suddenly in 2009. He operated the restaurant as South Beach for a short time and then changed the name to City Slickers. About a year ago, he changed the name to Ken's Charcoal Pits.

Geib isn't ready to announce the new name of the restaurant and said that while the main restaurant menu will change, the pizza and charcoal pits will remain the same.

"We'd like to have this all done early next year, which is very aggressive," Geib said.

Mistler owns several other downtown properties, including the former Genesee Bank building at Jackson and Main and the former Carr's building. We couldn't reach him late this afternoon for comment but Geib said Mistler will still be around. He's offered to continue to help with the business and he enjoys cooking pizza.

Previously:

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October 31, 2019 - 11:22am

Press release:

O’Lacy’s Irish Pub & Eli Fish Brewing Company have worked together and created a custom-made beer, hoping to show the public and business community that its not always about competing, but when you work together, both businesses can benefit!

On Tuesday, Nov. 5th , 5-9 p.m., O’Lacy’s Irish Pub will be hosting a kick-off party for the new hazelnut porter that has been custom made for O’Lacy’s Irish Pub by Eli Fish Brewing Company.

The collaboration was inspired as Kent Ewell (owner, O’Lacy’s), Chris Hoffman (bartender at O’Lacy’s) and Matt Gray (wwner, Eli Fish) were discussing the large amount of draft beer that O’Lacy’s sells.

“We should make you your own custom brew,” Gray said. “You pick the type (lager, ale etc.) and flavor if you wish and we can make it."    

After reviewing what was currently on tap at O’Lacy’s, Ewell chose a hazelnut porter, which is named appropriately, “Old Sod Hazelnut Porter.”

After sampling the test batch, Ewell said, “I think this is very unique and something people will enjoy.” 

At Tuesday's kick-off party, pints will be on special for $3.50. Come on out and try the new “Old Sod Hazelnut Porte,r” which pairs perfectly with O’Lacy’s Reuben sandwich and famous homemade chips and dip.

October 6, 2019 - 10:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, downtown, BID, batavia, wine walk.
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September 27, 2019 - 2:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, BID, business, batavia.

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This afternoon, Sarah and Casey Stockwell install a display for the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce on East Main Street, Downtown Batavia, as part of the Business Improvement District's annual scarecrow contest.

Sarah is in accounting and HR at the Chamber. Steve Falitico, the chamber's membership development director, helped design the display.

September 27, 2019 - 2:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photo, downtown, batavia, news.

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Taken yesterday evening.

September 5, 2019 - 5:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, restaurants, downtown, business.
Video Sponsor

Kourtney and Cait Kunichika have opened Islands Hawaiian Grill on Main Street in Batavia (former location of Larry's Steakhouse).

Kourtney, from California, moved to Western New York to play hockey at RIT and eventually became a professional hockey player in Buffalo.

While living in Batavia, she started working at local restaurants and found she really loved food and hospitality, so the restaurant is inspired by both her passion for her Hawaiian culture -- especially since there are no Hawaiian restaurants in Western New York -- and her passion for the restaurant business.

August 30, 2019 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, The Coffee Press, business.

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The Coffee Press on Jackson Street in Downtown Batavia held its official grand opening on Thursday and beer and wine was introduced to the beverage offerings.

Owner Derek Geib said beer and wine will help the business build an evening crowd as well as give people coming downtown another option.

Previously: The Coffee Press on Jackson Street, now open, aims to be hometown hangout

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August 11, 2019 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Beertavia, video, downtown.
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July 23, 2019 - 10:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Eat Well Grill, freshLAB, batavia, downtown, video.
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Subscribe to The Batavian's YouTube channel.

July 18, 2019 - 12:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Hall, batavia, news, downtown.

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The City of Batavia has completely renovated the landscaping in front of City Hall.

A supervisor yesterday explained that the old landscaping was more than 15 years old and had become difficult to maintain and control weeds.

The topsoil was replaced (see bottom photo) and new shrubs and flowers were planted today.

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June 22, 2019 - 9:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson Square, news, downtown, batavia, music, arts, entertainment.

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The annual Jackson Square Friday Night Concerts series opened last night with Genesee Ted.

The line up for the rest of the season:

  • June 28 – The Skycats
  • July 5 – It’s My Party
  • July 7 – Downtown Batavia Music Ramble Festival -- Bands & Times for The Ramble will be announced soon!
  • July 12 – Old Hippies
  • July 19 – Red Creek
  • July 26 – Mitty & the Followers
  • Aug. 2 – Ohms Band
  • Aug. 9 – The Ghost Riders

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June 8, 2019 - 10:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, public market, downtown, batavia.
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The Batavia Downtown Public Market opened Friday at Alva Place and Bank Street.

April 26, 2019 - 11:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, Old Courthouse, Upton Monument, batavia, news.

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This is the prettiest time of year around the Old Courthouse and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Also, the daffodils in front of City Hall are blooming.

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February 22, 2019 - 10:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Next Level Fitness, Ken Mistler, news, batavia, downtown, notify.

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After 31 years in the fitness business, owning and operating gyms in Staten Island and Batavia, Ken Mistler says it's time for him to retire for that line of work.

He's sold the building that has been home to Next Level Fitness for 10 years at 85 Main St., Batavia, and the gym will close Feb. 27.

Mistler said he's reached an agreement to sell the massive three-story, 20,000-square-foot building (which includes a 6,800-square-foot basement) to a local investor. He can't disclose who the buyer is or what the buyer plans to do with the building but the new owner will not operate a gym at that location.

"I'm not sure what they're going to do," Mistler said. "I'm not sure if they're going to use the whole building for themselves or cut the building, subdivide the building."

Mistler started in the gym business in Staten Island and then opened Powerhouse Gym on East Main Street in 1997. He still owns that building and all the equipment currently at Next Level. He would like to see somebody open a gym using the existing equipment at the Powerhouse location or see another locally owned gym use this as an opportunity to grow.

"I'm trying to encourage a local small gym in the area to go into that facility so," Mister said, "they will have more options. My customers have said they're looking for options. They're coming to me the last couple of days and asking what else can we do? What do we have available? They're looking for smaller facilities because they aren't a fan of the larger places and they want to keep it local."

Mistler said the closure of Next Level isn't the result of a chain competitor opening in town. He could have competed with a chain if he had wished to make the changes necessary but he didn't want to make those changes after 31 years running gyms, and the real estate offer was attractive and worth taking at this time.

Mister, who owns several downtown properties, and is owner and operator of Ken's Charcoal Pits on Main Street and the local movie theater, Batavia Showtime, said he's grateful for the years of community support for his gym businesses.

"The support has been unbelievable," Mistler said. "If I had to do it over again I would. That's how good the community has been to that facility, especially since I started Next Level, but 31 years in the business is enough."

February 20, 2019 - 9:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in bdc, batavia, downtown, business.

Press release:

The Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) Board of Directors reviewed the agency’s 2018 results and set goals for 2019 at their last board meeting.

In 2018 the BDC assisted eight projects that invested $3.5 million and pledged to create 38 new jobs. The JJ Newberry Building, award winner of the Robert Macon Award from the Community Design Center of Rochester, was the signature project opening its doors in February of 2018.

“The BDC is positioned to help small businesses and building owners in the City advance their projects,” said Pier Cipollone, president of the Batavia Development Corporation.

“We are also working to advance the Batavia Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) sites including Ellicott Station, Creek Park, City Centre, the Medical Corridor and the Harvester Campus.”

Other planning efforts guiding the BDC’s work include the recently updated Comprehensive Plan and Downtown Revitalization Investment (DRI) Strategy.

“The BOA, Comprehensive Plan and DRI Plan were created through a civic engagement model that allowed input and direction from the community to create a road map for land use and economic development in the City,” said Martin Moore, City of Batavia manager.

“The plans identify some of the most pressing issues in the City including blighted, contaminated and underutilized sites, housing issues and recommendations to reverse these trends.”

With the DRI award of $10 million the BDC plays a critical role in overseeing and advancing DRI projects. Currently the BDC is working with all of the DRI project owners and multiple state agencies to coordinate and assist projects.

The BDC successfully launched the $600,000 Batavia DRI Building Improvement Fund and is in the process of working with applicants before final selections are made.

“The momentum and excitement of the DRI has attracted new businesses and developers across the City,” said Rachael Tabelski, director of Economic Development for the BDC. “We will start to see scaffolding and construction starting in 2019.”

BDC Board approved 2019 goals:

  • Secure capital/business commitments of $5 million;
  • Secure business pledges to create 25 jobs;
  • Secure a micro-enterprise grant/loan program for the City of Batavia to foster new start-up businesses;
  • Achieve the BDC’s 2019-2020 budget;
  • Successfully administer and implement the Batavia DRI Building Improvement program;
  • Encourage, enable and incentivize downtown building owners to add new upper-floor apartments and new residential living in the City of Batavia;
  • Participate in the City’s environmental investigation and planning around the BOA Creek Park site;
  • Continue to enhance the BDC’s value and build strong relationships with the City of Batavia government, schools, businesses and residents, and other economic development organizations.
February 9, 2019 - 9:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Coffee Karma, downtown, Center Street, batavia, news, notify.

 

Video Sponsor

 

When Heather Rosendale-Casper started planning Coffee Karma at 12 Center St., Batavia, she knew she wanted a place that would feel warm and welcoming to the community, a real community space, she said during our visit to her new coffee shop today.

"It's really meant to reach out to the community and say, 'hey, let's have this free space were we can exchange conversation, do fun things, start connecting with people once again,' " Rosendale-Casper said.

She's hung local art on the walls, installed a natural-wood coffee bar, uses organic coffee from a local distributor, and even hosts yoga sessions.

Opening Coffee Karma is the culmination of a 20-year-long ambition for Rosendale-Casper.

"Going back to high school and college (coffee shops) is where I fundamentally found myself through philosophy, great conversations, meeting people, networking in an environment that was open and free and I also happen to really love coffee," she said.

Users of The Batavian app, click here to view the video on thebatavian.com.

January 25, 2019 - 10:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, BID, downtown.

Press release:

The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District (B.I.D.) is thrilled to announce the appointment of Barbara Dietrich as the B.I.D.'s new Executive Director.

Dietrich comes to the B.I.D. from an extensive background of marketing, event management, public relations, promotions and business startup skills. She was the president of Dietrich Consulting in Batavia starting in 1998. She consulted for a variety of businesses on marketing, advertising trends, promotions, sponsorship and events. She was the radio personality on Entercom Buffalo; News Radio 930 WBEN – “Easy Living with Barb Dietrich."

Dietrich was the sponsorship director of “The Great Pumpkin Farm ”Oink”toberfest, NYS BBQ Cook-off Competition in Clarence. During her time at Dietrich Consulting she was the director of Marketing and Development for the YWCA Genesee County, director of Marketing for Empire Tractor Inc., director of Marketing, Public Relations and Sponsorship for Rivera Theatre in North Tonawanda, and general manager for WNY Event Centre in Clarence.

Dietrich has volunteered for many organizations over the years, she was a board member as well as past chairperson for Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Batavia Business Advisory Board, Cornell Cooperative Extension Board, Genesee County Business Advisory Board for Tompkins/Bank of Castile and Junior Achievement.

“Most of my marketing/management career has been in the Buffalo area and I’m so happy to use those skills and experiences here in my own community," she said. "It’s an honor to be a part of the exciting growth of Batavia!”

Dietrich moved to Batavia from State College, Pa., with her husband, David Dietrich, more than 25 years ago. They have two children, Joe and Petra.

She said she is happy they chose Batavia as their home.

Dietrich is looking forward to joining the B.I.D. and working closely with the downtown businesses, volunteers, board members, the City of Batavia and its community. Her official start date will be Monday, Jan. 28. We warmly welcome her to the B.I.D.

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