Oct 21, 2013

Buffalo Paint and Wallpaper Raises the Bar for Quality on Bailey Avenue

Spend just a few minutes in Buffalo Paint and Wallpaper and you know you’ve stumbled upon something special on Bailey Avenue. Located at 2917 Bailey Avenue and formerly Schnitter’s Paint, the company was purchased by Dominic and Laura Fulciniti ten years ago, but only recently had the name changed. Once they had purchased the company, it was important to remain on Bailey Avenue as Dominic got his start at the company over 26 years ago and has been there ever since. With a dedication to staying, Laura was determined to make it the best space along the prominent commercial strip and that’s exactly what she’s done.


Previously the showroom was pretty basic with paint buckets piled about forming rows, but with Laura’s touch the space has been transformed. Their products are not only organized better, but Laura has a created a lounge area to meet with clients and go over their specific needs. Complete with hounds tooth couches, chandelier, and a working fireplace, the lounge is just the place for long-time and new clients alike to feel comfortable and plan improvements for their home.


The lounge also showcases their high-end paint line, Farrow & Ball, which they started carrying this year. “It comes from England and is made the old fashioned way,” explained Laura, “Farrow & Ball has less water, higher quality resign and more natural pigments for a richer finished and almost no VOCs.”

Laura has had several professional painters return with glowing reviews. The high-end line has made its way into several mansions on Nottingham Terrace, Lebrun Road, and outside Buffalo. Laura’s design has been all over Buffalo even in places you may not expect. She worked closely with the owner of Mobile Soles, Melissa Fayson on the design for her company truck.


People are coming from all over the region just for the Farrow & Ball paint, but often return for the high level of personal interaction Laura gives each client. Laura will spend as much time as she needs for a client to feel satisfied about their choices for their project. “I treat them like I would want to be treated,” she said, “If it was my home I would want someone there for me so I would have the best finished room possible, I like to put myself in their shoes to offer them a great experience.”


Buffalo Paint and Wallpaper are also one of the last in stock wallpaper carriers, which is also a huge draw. It’s not all about high-end and expensive though, they cater to budget minded clients as well with their own line of paint. They also offer high-end fabric and furniture at close out prices for every budget.


The changes at the store have been well received by neighbors who are astounded by the improvements in the showroom and often use the store as an example of what they want Bailey Avenue to strive for as it continues to improve.

Next time you’re planning a painting or remodeling project for your home, be sure to skip Home Depot or Lowe’s and head straight to Bailey Avenue. Laura will be there with her glowing smile and offers a personal touch than the boring big box stores can’t come close to replicating. In my opinion, Laura is like the Prish of Bailey Avenue, but with paint instead of coffee. She has a wonderful vision for Bailey Avenue and is inspiriing others to invest and elevate the standards along the street.


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Oct 17, 2013

University Heights Tool Library Returns for Round Two at the Uptown Theater

A second clean up has been scheduled at the Uptown Theater (3163 Bailey Avenue) by the University Heights Tool Library for this upcoming Saturday, October 19th from 10am to 2pm.

Sprucing up the marquee at the previous clean up. Image courtesy of University Heights Tool Library
The first clean up was a great success in August, drawing kids from the neighborhood and others from all over the region. Tools and supplies will be provided, just bring yourself and a willingness to work. The clean up is being co-sponsered by the Bailey Avenue Association as efforts continue along the commercial corridor to improve and build on their existing assets.

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Oct 16, 2013

Huge Strides Made in Taming Wildroot Over the Weekend

Over the weekend about a dozen people did some serious work at the Wildroot building as part of a BYP clean up event. Leading the charge to secure the building before winter and for future development, Mark Paradowski assigned tasks to the volunteers around the 100,000 square foot complex.  Although the event was only slated for four hours, most people stayed over six hours for additional work. You can check out before and after photos on the Wildroot Buffalo Facebook page here.

The overgrown and wild courtyard was tamed as plants and debris were uprooted and await removal from the site in the near future. The majority of the first floor windows on the north side of the building that had been left open have now been completely sealed to keep out vandals and the elements. Several window openings were boarded and although not all of them were addressed, there will be additional work before the snow flies to get them sealed up.

Due to the success of the fundraiser and donations that continued after the clean up, Mark has extended the online campaign in order to purchase additional materials for the winterization project, which you can see here. The new project goal is $1000 and Mark is already three quarters of the way there after $250 was added to the campaign, post clean up.

“Since we continued to get funding beyond our initial goal, we’ve decided to extend the campaign so we can get additional work done which will go a long way in securing the building for future development,” says Paradowski. “I’m very thankful for the people that came out to help on Saturday and those that made donations, big and small. They truly made a positive impact for the future of this east side landmark. A special thanks goes to Chris Ziolkowski of Zee’s Property Services. Chris works professionally in construction and has been present on many BYP clean ups and not only donates his skills, but often kicks in additional funds for more supplies or food for the volunteers.”

The majority of Wildroot is the former factory building to the rear, which makes up 80,000 of the 100,000 square feet. Similar to many rehabilitated reinforced concrete factory buildings, the open floor plates and high ceilings lends itself to almost any new use. Wildroot has the potential to be an incredible catalyst for this part of the east side. It could be a business incubator, brewery, or could replicate the model at the Foundry, but include space for the artists to live all in the same place. It could even be all three of those things. The possibilities for Wildroot are endless and these clean up efforts are first steps for a great future.

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Oct 11, 2013

Local Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians Hosts Tour at the Sattler Theater Next Week

The local chapter of the SAH, the Louise Bethune chapter, will be hosting a tour of the Sattler Theater at 512 Broadway on Monday October 14th at 6pm. This event will be open to the public with a suggested donation of $10 to aid in the ongoing restoration efforts. All who plan to attend are asked to register in advance, which can be done by clicking here.


This is the most intact east side movie theater remaining in Buffalo and was spared the wrecking ball in 2008 when the current owners, WNY Minority Media Professionals took ownership. Deferred maintenance and lack of general upkeep has meant an uphill battle for the group as they raise funds for the restoration of the theater. Once completed, movies will once again return to the theater in addition to live performances, comedy shows, and more.


It was built in 1914 for prominent department store owner, John G. Sattler, who lost it shortly after its completion. His interest in the property was tied to a large real estate development that failed and the theater was sold at a foreclosure auction shortly thereafter. The name was then changed to the Broadway and was later operated by the Basil Brothers chain.

Movies stopped in the mid-1960s and it was then used as a mosque and several different religious organizations until the 1990s.  Although the building requires a full restoration, many of the original details remain including the impressive dome and commanding terra cotta fa├žade. Architect, Henry L. Spann designed the theater and his brother William later designed some interior changes in the 1940s mostly keeping with the original feeling of the building.

The Louise Bethune Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians was founded in 2009 to promote the documentation and scholarship of the built environment in the 8 counties of Western New York.  Meetings are held every 2nd Monday of the month at local restaurants or cafes, and usually feature a presentation by a guest or member. For more information contact Cynthia Van Ness at bettybarcode@gmail.com.

To see more photos of the Sattler Theater check out my Ipernity page here.


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Buffalo ReUse Offering Cape Cod Home for Relocation, Great Opportunity for a Vacant Lot in Buffalo

The concept of moving a home from one neighborhood to a vacant lot in another has been brought up so many times in conversations, I can’t even keep track. Usually someone has the suggestion to move or disassemble/reassemble a great home, often one of few left on an entire block, to a vacant lot in another neighborhood in Buffalo.

Front of the home. Photo courtesy of Cynthia Van Ness
Moving a house is not an easy task, but something that was not an uncommon throughout history. As recently as the 1960s there were a dozen or so homes that were relocated or moved back when the Kensington Expressway came through the east side. Buffalo is even home to one of the oldest structure moving companies in the country, International Chimney.

Side entry of the home. Photo courtesy of Cynthia Van Ness
Now here is a chance for someone to relocate a charming Cape Cod home from Getzville to another location, perhaps onto a vacant lot in Buffalo. The 1300 square foot, four bedroom home is completed with a two-car garage that is also included. Buffalo ReUse is offering the home to be moved to a location of your choosing and there are plenty of good choices in the city.

Opposite side of the home. Photo courtesy of Cynthia Van Ness
“We were contacted to demolish a home in Getzville, but unlike most demolitions, it was in great structural condition,” said Vincent Kuntz, Buffalo ReUse board president. “This home can easily be taken apart and reassembled elsewhere, taking reuse to a whole new level.” Disassembly and reassembly rather than moving the home is necessary because overhead obstructions and detours could substantially increase the cost.

Rear of the home. Photo courtesy of Cynthia Van Ness
The cost of disassembling the home to be ready for relocation is approximately $20,000 with an extra $2,500 for the garage. The home and garage can be sold or moved separately if desired. Potential buyers can also look into the cost of moving the home without taking it apart, but will likely be cost prohibitive. 

The detached two car garage. Photo courtesy of Cynthia Van Ness
Kuntz sees moving and reassembling homes as an alternative to demolition.  “There are empty lots in Buffalo and environs ripe for housing. There are concrete advantages in deconstruction-reconstruction. Moving this house will provide more man days of employment than simple demolition, it will reduce the amount of waste taken to landfill, and it will show the feasibility of saving instead of destroying usable structures. Most of all, it can provide a home to a family at an affordable cost.”

If you have an interest in the home and/or garage get in touch with Buffalo ReUse via info@buffaloreuse.org


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Oct 9, 2013

Wildroot Clean-Up/Board-Up This Saturday from 10am to 2pm

The fundraiser to purchase building materials for boarding up the Wildroot building on Bailey Avenue has been a success. Building materials will be purchased this week in anticipation of the clean-up/board-up at the building this Saturday, October 12th from 10am to 2pm. BYP is hosting the event and all skill levels and people are welcome to join. You can RSVP to the event on their Facebook page here.


Plans for the event include securing the exterior of the building to ensure vandals no longer get access, clearing the large lot of debris and growth, and general small repairs before the winter seasons comes to Buffalo. If you have anytime this Saturday just show up for whatever period you can, every person makes a difference.

The building is not accessible from Bailey Avenue so people will be meeting on the side of the building at Fay Street and West Shore Avenue, which is accessible from either Bailey or Walden Avenue. Tools and materials will be provided, but if you have an extra rake or shovel feel free to bring it just to be safe.

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Oct 8, 2013

Bailey Avenue Partners Kick Off Day to Highlight Business Growth and Discuss Future Improvements

The Bailey Avenue Association (BAA) will be escorting business owners, council members, and other interested parties down Bailey Avenue tomorrow, October 9th at 2pm at the Uptown Theatre, 3163 Bailey Avenue for their Partners Kick Off day. The event will showcase improvements and business growth along the prominent commercial strip. Additionally, members of the BAA will announce new partnerships and focus on bringing more positive change to the neighborhood.


Stakeholders in the community such as the UB Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Villa Maria College, “Say Yes to Education” students, the University Heights Collaborative, the Tool Library, and many others will be in attendance. Common Council members Richard Fontana, Demone Smith, and Bonnie Russell will all be present as the neighborhood falls into three different districts. The whole group will walk several blocks Bailey Avenue noting various partnerships brining new life to the neighborhood and pointing out where the area still needs to improve.

All are welcome to attend and offer any ideas they may have on how to continue the improvements in the neighborhood and bring in additional businesses. Check out this link for a previous post about the efforts on Bailey Avenue. For additional photos of Bailey Avenue and the surrounding neighborhood, click here for my Ipernity album.
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Oct 3, 2013

Rails to Trails Project in North Buffalo Moves Forward

North Buffalo is one step closer to getting a project twenty years in the making.  Early last month, the Common Council and City Capital Improvements committee voted to acquire a small piece of land from My Kids Daycare that allowed City officials to officially request nearly $1 million of Federal funding for a Multi-Use trail on a former railroad right of way.  

On September 25th, the New York State Department of Transportation approved the request, locking in the time-sensitive funding with only four days left until it was set to expire. “They cut it close, but it’s a victory for the community,” said Michael Vertino, President of the University Heights Collaborative (UHC), who had been working with the City to make the long delayed project a reality. 

Representatives from the City have begun the process of finalizing a ten-year renewable lease with the NFTA, who currently owns the abandoned former rail line. The short path through Minnesota Avenue Linear Park will be improved and incorporated into this plan, allowing easy access to the trail from an increasingly vibrant University Heights neighborhood and the eastern edge of North Buffalo. 

The new path will stretch between the LaSalle Metro Rail station and Kenmore Avenue, before linking up with the new path being created by Tonawanda on the other side of Kenmore. Once both projects are completed it will be possible for recreational cyclists and commuters alike to ride separate from automobile traffic between the City of Tonawanda and Buffalo, connecting many popular bike paths along the water (such as the Riverwalk) to the NFTA’s most popular form of mass transit.

The existing path through Minnesota Avenue Linear Park will be widened to 12 feet to mirror the new segments, which will connect to the Linear Park path at Merrimac Street and run to both Kenmore Avenue and Taunton Place on the rail property. All sections of new path will be lit for added safety, with the possibility for the addition of BlueLight cameras at several key locations.

Jacob Jordan, a member of the UHC’s Rails-to-Trails committee, co-founder of Queen City Rail Trails, and newly elected President of the Merrimac Street Block Club has been one of the many community members tirelessly working with the City to make this project a success. Jordan explains, “In addition to the Federal funding, which is unaffected by the current furlough, the City has also placed a request for over $400,000 in Bond money to fund additional lengths of trail that were currently unfunded by the CMAQ portion. If the Comptroller and the Common Council approve those bonds, it’s very possible that we’ll see additional path running from the abutments at Merrimac down to the Shoshone Park area, and maybe even over to Starin. Regardless of what the final project looks like, we’re going to get a trail built here in North Buffalo, so it’s nice to see everyone’s hard work has paid off.”

These massive stone structures are a remnant from when a train bridge crossed above
This summer, the University Heights Collaborative collected 1,300 signatures from residents of the neighborhood in favor of a bike path, understanding the need to compromise with the City. “I think our flexibility paid off,” Jordan continued, “We worked with both the community and City to get the CMAQ money before time ran out, which was the ultimate goal. Now that the funding is secured, we can work on ironing out the details of the project.” 

Main & Lasalle III
This is how the path looking with the bridge was still in place and before nature reclaimed the space

Over the next few months there will be public hearings, and design details will be finalized. One of the most remarkable things about this project has been involvement of the younger generation. While not currently part of the plan being pursued, Jordan and his fellow QCRT members Nathan Layman and Juliana Gadanyi hope this project spurs similar development throughout the City.  “UB grads Aaron Krolikowski and Darren Cotton at the University Heights Tool Library have been working with UB Academies students and the Honor’s College to develop a reuse plan for parts of the NFTA right of way that aren’t included in the City’s project, such as the old bridge abutments.  It’s great to see more young people getting involved and becoming passionate about this neighborhood and the City”

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Oct 1, 2013

Buffalo: America's Best Designed City by John Paget

Local filmaker, John Paget has once again shown the City of Buffalo in the way it deserves to be seen as the Queen City of the Lake. His new short film, Buffalo: America's Best Designed City captures the general feeling of the renaissance that is building in our beloved city. The film focuses on the beautiful design of the city from Ellicott to Olmsted, but doesn't glaze over some of our worst mistakes during the mid-century. It will be the best twelve minutes of your day! Be sure to follow Paget on Youtube as well as on Facebook for future videos and to see some of his other work.

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