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VJ Gautieri Constructors

March 9, 2022 - 10:16am


The transformation of the Save-A-Lot grocery store building at 45-47 Liberty St. took another significant step forward on Tuesday when the executive director of the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc., signed a long-term lease for 7,630 square feet of commercial office space on the ground floor.

“We’ve outgrown our space at our current location (in the former Kozak plant on South Lyon Street), so it seemed like a good opportunity to start looking around,” said Gretchen Gonzalez, an attorney who directs the Buffalo-based program. “We were looking at some other spots, but it's very difficult to find the size that we needed in Batavia. So, finding this space with Victor (Gautieri) was great and to be able to break it up to what we need.”

Gonzalez and Gautieri, president of VJ Gautieri Constructors, building owner and developer, agreed to terms and signed the contract yesterday afternoon at the VJ Gautieri office on Liberty Street.

Gavin McKeirnan Townsend, licensed real estate salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA on Jackson Street, also attended.

“Obviously, piggybacking on the beautiful apartments upstairs and knowing that we had about 16,000 square feet available of commercial space downstairs, we definitely wanted to leverage that and keep the momentum going,” said Townsend, who brought the two parties together. “It’s great to have prime commercial space here in the city of Batavia with sort of the resurgence of everything that's happening in downtown.”

Last fall, VJ Gautieri completed a $3.1 million project supported by $1.15 million in New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding that resulted in the City View Residences -- 10 upscale apartments on the second floor of the building -- along with first-floor storefronts and building-wide façade improvements.

With VLP’s signing, VJ Gautieri now has about 8,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor available for leasing.

Gautieri said offices of the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, known as VLP, will be located in the southwest portion of the building.

“They’re not taking the storefront. They’ll be able to walk out there – we’re going to create a new entry for them – and look almost directly at Batavia Tailors,” he said. “We will be doing the lease build-out – creating the space and dividing it to set up their offices.”

He noted that DEAN Architects of Depew, the firm that designed City View Residences, has been hired to configure the space for VLP’s 23 offices.

“We did an in-house version of a few things just to get the ball rolling, but the architect is going to play off of that and say, ‘Okay, here's what you need,’” Gautieri said. “He's going to also meld all the code requirements in to make sure everything is good. We have to construct the restrooms, entry lobby, reception area and then all the individual offices for the folks who will be working there.”

Gonzalez talked about VLP’s mission and the importance of a presence in Batavia.

“Our initial office is in Buffalo, and we've had a secondary office in Batavia for a number of years,” she said. “We started off with renting space for one office for one attorney – a paralegal that was out here all of the time – and then in 2016, we leased more space there and we now we have around 15 attorneys and five paralegals and two social workers.”

She said VLP is a “hybrid legal services organization” that has attorneys on staff plus a bank of nearly 500 lawyers in private practice that volunteer their time and provide expertise at no cost to clients.

“VLP is the largest provider of indigent immigration services outside of New York City in the State of New York,” she said. “Our Batavia office houses part of our immigration program. It's funded by a grant from the New York State Office of New Americans to provide a public defender-style representative representation to anyone who's detained (and facing deportation) at the federal detention facility (in Batavia).”

While the immigration piece is key to work in Batavia, it’s just a part of what VLP does, Gonzalez noted.

“I always like to say that we do anything under the sun except for criminal law. Because in Buffalo, we have housing attorneys, we have family law attorneys, we do divorces, end of life planning, wills, power of attorney, healthcare proxy,” she said.

“We have a low income taxpayer program that helps people who have cases and controversy with the IRS. We have a program that's specifically designed to serve people who are HIV positive. And we have another portion of our immigration program in Buffalo that provides services to people who are not detained and mostly provide services to victims of human trafficking and domestic violence and other sorts of crimes.”

Gonzalez, who has been with VLP for 10 years, said about 20 full-time employees will be working out of the new Batavia office, and will be supported by attorneys at other locations who volunteer their time.

Gautieri said he is keeping another 1,000 square feet in reserve just in case VLP needs to expand in the future. He said the anticipated move-in date for VLP is Aug. 1.

CLICK HERE for more information about the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc.

Photo at top: Gretchen Gonzalez, center, signs a contract to lease more than 7,500 square feet of office space at 45-47 Ellicott St., site of Save-A-Lot and the City View Residences, as Victor Gautieri, president of VJ Constructors, and Gavin McKeirnan Townsend of HUNT Real Estate ERA, look on. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: Ribbon cutting marks completion of City View Residences revitalization project in downtown Batavia

August 21, 2021 - 11:10am


The owner of Save-A-Lot at 45-47 Ellicott St., seeing the improvements his landlord was making to the downtown building, said he figured the time was right to create a “fresh, modern” look to the grocery store that will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in December.

“When we heard that Victor (VJ Gautieri Constructors Inc. President Victor Gautieri) was going to update the building -- putting apartments on top of the store -- we decided to extend our lease and renovate our location here,” said John Hedlund, a Niagara Falls resident and owner of five Save-A-Lot stores in Western New York,

“We put about $300,000 into it, giving it a fresh, modern feel; a new décor package and new life.”

So, while the Gautieri company was completing the Downtown Revitalization Initiative project that resulted in 10 market-rate apartments on the second floor (and continues to prepare another 18,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor), Hedlund went to work on updating the grocery store.

Hedlund, who is in a partnership with William Larson of Pennsylvania, the former owner of the Corfu IGA store, provided details of the changes while giving The Batavian a tour of the store earlier this week.

“We shortened up the hallway to the entrance of the store, and we’ve expanded our produce, meats, dairy and frozen food items throughout the store,” he said. “New windows on the front give it more of a grocery-store look, plus we’ve replaced a lot of equipment and we added new lighting and paint.”

In the grocery business for 44 of his 60 years, Hedlund said he likes Save-A-Lot’s new branding and signage, and is pleased with the results of his decision to shorten the aisles and add a center aisle.

“By doing this, it gives customers the opportunity to not be crowded in the aisles, so they have room to step aside and not be pushed around,” he said. “It just gives everyone more space. We’ve done this with all of our stores, and it really ended up being a positive thing for everyone.”

Hedlund owns Save-A-Lot stores in Le Roy (which underwent remodeling recently), Albion (which open three years ago), Salamanca (his first store, which also has been renovated) and his hometown of Niagara Falls.

The Batavia store consists of 18,000 square feet, with two-thirds of it as retail space, Hedlund said. He said that he hopes other businesses come to the location, noting that the increased traffic would help to offset the loss of the store’s “in and out” business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That and other factors such as a minimum wage increase and rising inflation have resulted in higher prices.

“Yes, we’re starting to see that, but we’re trying to maintain the retail pricing as low as possible,” he said. “We’re competitively priced … as we don’t have to carry a lot of items that just sit on the shelves and cost money. We look for terms and we have a lot of buying power through Save-A-Lot as they have 1,000 stores, so that keeps our costs down.”

A licensee, Hedlund said he is qualified to buy through Save-A-Lot and outside vendors, including produce from local farmers.

The store employs about 18 people, including two full-time butchers, a full-time produce manager and full-time operations manager.

“We fresh cut our meats every day and we also offer grab-and-go deli meats on a daily basis,” Hedlund said.

Hedlund said a four-day sales promotion each month will begin on Sept. 4.

“There will be hot sales on produce and meat selections for four days – Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday – each month for a while,” he said. “We will be promoting that heavily.”

The store is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.





Previously (from December 2011): Entrepreneurs saw Batavia needed a grocery store downtown, so they opened one

Photo at top: Save-A-Lot owner John Hedlund next to the new produce display at the Ellicott Street grocery store. Photos at bottom: Expanded center aisle; grab-and-go deli section; frozen foods and dairy section; employee Corey McKenzie cashes out customer Gary Capuano of Batavia. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

August 20, 2021 - 10:11am


A week away from cementing their place as the first tenants of the new City View Residence, Jonathan Bates said the two-bedroom apartment above Save-A-Lot on Ellicott Street provides everything that he and his brother, Jake, desire at this point in their lives.

The Oakfield-Alabama Central School graduates – Jonathan is 27 and Jake is 26 – signed a one-year lease with VJ Gautieri Constructors Inc. and are scheduled to move into their new home on Aug. 28.

Jonathan Bates (pictured above), in an interview with The Batavian on Thursday, expressed his pleasure with being the first to rent one of the 10 units that were constructed as part of the City of Batavia’s Downtown Revitalization Award initiative.

They will be living in one of the three two-bedroom apartments; the others have one bedroom.

“It’s cool to be a part of the revitalization of Batavia. This project is kind of the culmination of all the efforts that have taken place so far, and it’s exciting to be part of that,” he said. “Family members saw pictures of it (on The Batavian), and when they did, they said, ‘Jon and Jake, this is right up your alley. You’ve got to check this place out.’”

Bates said the monthly rent for the market rate apartment is well worth it, considering the modern and varied furnishing, and the access to downtown businesses.

“You go up there and each space, each unit has a unique view of the city, the downtown life,” he offered. “You take a look around where we are and we’ve got gyms, restaurants, banks – everything within walking distance. And a (grocery) store right down here on the first floor. It’s worth every penny.”

The brothers work for the same company in the construction management field.

“Being in the industry, I know exactly what VJ Gautieri has been going through to open this place up, and all the challenges in the industry right now with getting material and labor shortages due to COVID. But they have done a fantastic job getting this thing done on schedule,” Bates said.

He said they were put in contact with Victor Gautieri, president of VJ Gautieri Constructors, and, after receiving a tour, signed on the dotted line.

“We were sold immediately,” he noted.

When asked if he sees himself as a millennial, part of a group born from 1981-1996 that is said to be enthralled with city living, Bates said he didn’t pay much attention to categories.

“To be honest with you, I don’t even know what I’d be considered,” he replied.


Gautieri reported that City of Batavia Code Enforcement Officer Ron Panek issued the facility’s certificate of occupancy last week.

“Mr. Panek did a complete inspection of the facility, and we also had to provide several documents, including an elevator inspection certificate, fire alarm system certificate, sprinkler system certificate and an electrical certificate showing that the wiring was inspected by a third-party,” Gautieri said.

He said Panek did a “complete walk-through,” as did Batavia Fire Department officers to familiarize themselves with the facility.

The certificate of occupancy came about a year after Gautieri secured the additional financing needed to complete the $3.1 million project.

Gautieri said he is in the process of reviewing applications and scheduling tours for those who are interested in learning more about the apartments. For more information, contact the VJ Gautieri Constructors’ office at 585-343-0852.

Previously: A first look: City View Residences (aka Ellicott Place) on the second floor of Save-A-Lot building

July 22, 2021 - 5:09pm


The Ellicott Place project, one of several redevelopment ventures supported by the City of Batavia’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award, is about 10 days away from completion, according to the head of the company that owns the Save-A-Lot building at 45 Ellicott St.

“We’re 98.5 percent done,” said Victor Gautieri, president of VJ Gautieri Constructors Inc., who, this morning, gave The Batavian the first look at some of the 10 market-rate apartments being built on the second floor.

City View Residences, the housing portion of the project’s official name, consists of seven one-bedroom and three two-bedroom units featuring nine-foot ceilings, stainless steel appliances (including a dishwasher and microwave oven), upgraded fixtures and trim, and plenty of closet space.

The apartments, which vary in size from 900 to 1,200 square feet, also come with a 10-foot by 6-foot outside deck that is secured by protective guardrails measuring 42 inches high. Each unit has its own laundry room with washer and dryer, and heating and air conditioning system, both tucked away in a small room with a door on it.

Gautieri (pictured above) said that transforming the building into more than a supermarket was a goal of his father, Vito, the company founder.

“It was his thought from initially purchasing the building that we’d be able to redevelop the second floor and put some commercial space up there, but that never materialized,” Victor Gautieri said. “Then, when we were approved for the DRI grant (covering $1.15 million of the total project cost of $3.1 million), that allowed us to put the apartments in.”

Realizing the need for quality housing in Batavia and Genesee County, Gautieri said he and his father “looked at it as a company” and figured that apartments on the second floor would be a viable option.

“We were able to get the (DRI) grant and then the financing to do the second-floor apartments, and from there, we did a complete ‘reno’ on the exterior of the building and now we’re creating a vanilla box in the remaining commercial space,” he added.

Gautieri said the apartments will rent for $1,325 to $1,575 per month, plus utilities (cable television is available). The apartments were designed by Dean Architects PLLC, of Depew, in conjunction with VJ Gautieri Constructors Inc.

“We have a waiting list and we’re going through the applications,” he said. “It looks like we will be in good shape on the apartments in short order.”

Another neat feature of the apartments is an electric door at the main entrance (on the north side of the building), with each tenant receiving a key fob that unlatches the door for entry. Each apartment has a video monitor on the wall near the door.

“Tenants will be able to see who’s at the front door and allow them to come in without having to walk down the stairs to unlock the main entrance door,” Gautieri said, noting that security cameras have been installed in all the public areas.

As far as commercial space, he said that 16,000 square feet is available, and can be divided depending upon the requirements of businesses that show interest in the property. Currently, it is being used as a production area during construction.

“Like the saying goes, ‘If you build it, they will come.’ As we started to redevelop and modernize the property, it spawned more interest from the business community,” he said.


The wall leading to the elevator and stairs on the first-floor foyer, crafted from wood taken from the building's exterior.


Stairs leading to the 10 apartments.Technicians are nearly finished with wiring of the elevator, Gautieri said.


Modern kitchen area with stainless steel appliances.


Flooring in one of the bedrooms. The color scheme is a darker shade of blue and light gray.


Enclosed laundry room.


Every apartment has a full bathroom and either a half- or three-quarter bath.


View from the deck of one of the units, looking west. Genesee County Building 1 is in the background.


"Door bell" monitor system that allows the tenant to see who is at the main entrance downstairs.

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

May 27, 2021 - 3:59pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, bdc, VJ Gautieri Constructors, ellicott place.



Directors of the Batavia Development Corporation this morning approved a revolving loan fund grant request of $18,800 from VJ Gautieri Constructors for sidewalk replacement at Ellicott Place.

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative project will result in 10 new market-rate apartments on the upper floor of the Save-A-Lot building at 45-47 Ellicott St., as well as the rehabilitation of 18,000 square feet of vacant commercial space.

“The Ellicott Place project, located in the Batavia Improvement District and the Route 63 redevelopment corridor, is a key DRI project in alignment with the City’s Comprehensive Plan,” said Andrew Maguire, BDC director of economic development. “We’re thrilled with the progress Mr. (Victor) Gautieri and his team have made and we all look forward to the economic impact that Ellicott Place delivers.”

In his application, Gautieri, the company president, said the grant will go toward replacing the private sidewalks that are adjacent to the building, indicating that an increase in the cost of materials has put the project over its budget.

Maguire reported that Gautieri’s commitment to replacing the sidewalks is an eligible use of grant funds that cover masonry repairs, façade improvement and storefront upgrades.

The $3.1 million project received $1.15 million from the state’s DRI award to the City of Batavia.

The capital investment for the sidewalk replacement is pegged at $47,000.

In other action, the board approved a resolution to apply for a National Grid Urban Center/Commercial Revitalization grant for up to $250,000 for the Jackson Square project.

Maguire said that funding could provide for furniture and more lighting elements in the public entertainment area located between Jackson and Center streets.


The board also heard a presentation from Rob Walker, chief executive officer of the GLOW YMCA; Daniel Ireland, president of United Memorial Medical Center, and David Ciurzynski, representative of the two entities, on the progress of the Healthy Living Campus on East Main Street.

The $30 million DRI project will combine services of both the YMCA and the hospital under one roof.

BDC Board President Lori Aratari said the video presentation “got everybody a little more excited to see a visual of what this transformational project is going to bring to Downtown Batavia and how far they have come.”

She said she was impressed with video of the proposed YMCA, mentioning the childcare area, walking track on the second floor overlooking Main Street, fitness area and aquatics center.

“It’s a bright and open area that will be a totally different Y than what we have today,” she said.

Ciurzynski said the venture is a big piece of many projects that will generate new business for the city and Genesee County.

 “This is all part of a plan that will stimulate the growth of our city. Not every single project is going to be the answer to everything, but when we start stitching them together we will have something really nice after a while,” he said.

He shed a bit more light on the timetable, starting with finalizing the design as a prerequisite to obtaining approvals from planning boards and other agencies.

“We have to do an approval for the hospital piece to the (New York State) Department of Health and we’ve got our permit reviews. Hopefully, sometime in September or October we will be able to get it out to contractors for bid,” he advised.

Ciurzynski said demolition of Cary Hall will precede regrading of the site and establishment of the building pad. Once the pad is down, crews will be able to work on the foundation and utilities.

“We really would like to get some of that work done over the winter so when springtime comes, we can hit the ground running and get the building up in the air,” he said.

He mentioned that the schedule could be altered depending upon the availability and shipping of materials -- a problem in the construction industry of late.

Aratari said she is looking forward to the day when the many projects taking place in the city are complete.

“The next couple years are really going to be amazing for Downtown Batavia,” she said. “Hopefully, these will bring the community to downtown as now we’re finally getting back out there.”

Photos: Top, The sidewalks around the Save-A-Lot store will be replaced as part of the Ellicott Place project; bottom, view of the west side of the building, which is being painted bright white. The outside of the second floor, which will have 10 apartments, also has been painted. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

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