Bartending School Concocting Burger King Reuse Project

A drab, long-vacant former Burger King in the suddenly hot 500 block of Main Street may have a mixed-use future.  According to Business First, WNY School of Bartending is looking to buy the building and relocate its programs from Clarence to the downtown location.  The 5,865 sq.ft. building, built in 1978 with seating for 140, is owned by a New Jersey-based corporation. 

James Fink has the scoop:

The owners of the Western New York School of Bartending, a privately-run trade school, are negotiating with the New Jersey-based investment group that owns the 5,865-square-foot building at 495 Main St.

“We are way past the tire-kicking stage,” said Jason Briandi, the school’s operations manager. “I have a very good feeling that we could have a deal done in the next 10 or 14 days.”

If the deal comes together, Briandi said the plan is to move his company’s bartending school from its current location on Main Street in Clarence to downtown Buffalo. The bartending school would be expanded into a culinary arts center with a full-scale restaurant as a training center for its students.

A master barber program is also in the planning stages.

Briandi said his company has already applied to the New York State Education Department for licensing and certification to run both schools. The state has given pre-approval with formal approval expected in the next few weeks.

Besides running its bartending school, Western New York School of Bartending also operates a blackjack dealer training program that will begin its first class in August. The bartending school has between 225 and 235 students enrolled throughout the year. Each 40-hour session is spread over a two-week period.

The two-story brick cube has been empty since Burger King closed in September 1998.  Downtown lost several other fast food restaurants at about the same time including an Arby’s at Main and Genesee, a nearby Wendy’s, and two McDonald’s- one across from Burger King and one in the Theater District.  The fast food exodus from downtown accelerated after the closing of AM&A’s/BonTon, LL Bergers and Sibley’s. 

About the author  ⁄ WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

14 comments
BuffaloKID
BuffaloKID

It is allowable as long as the 2 facilities are segregated.

I'm quite sure they have explored all options for the reusable space as well as implementing the basement.

Love the plan !!

BuffaloGal05
BuffaloGal05

Wow! What an amazing idea to come up with in such a convient place for people to explore the field of Culinary and Barbering school at such an affordable opprotunity to further education. Keep up the good work! You guys have my thumbs up.

Bernie
Bernie

The move to Main St is a dicey proposition that extends beyond the fact that the school has 10 months remaining on their lease.

Here are some facts; The current offices of the WNY School of Bartending are in a building owned by PAT Construction on Main St in the town of Clarence. PAT Construction is owned by Patrick Casillo. Patrick Casillo is a Town of Clarence councilman.

If a business is not receiving any $$ assistance then they can simply move from one town to another. But if they are receiving money from an IDA in their planned destination's town then the matter must be reviewed by the ECIDA.

Where this becomes complicated is thru the school's request to the ECIDA for financial help.

Confusing? You betcha!

Anyway, I can't see Pat Casillo being thrilled about losing a tenant and complicate that fact with the schools request for aid.

ByronBrownsTie
ByronBrownsTie

NYS doesn't allow food service and hygiene services, such as a barbershop to operate in the same facility. Good luck.

Tom
Tom

The price was recently lowered to $170,000. I think this a perfect use for the building and I think they are a getting a great price for it.

aristocrat
aristocrat

Small business owner strengthening their business by purchasing real estate...I like it.

Polonia
Polonia

If only i can find a way to disclose my life's wish to my wife..... to be a barber.

downtown resident
downtown resident

More people on Main Street, check.

Another vacant building gone, check

A restaurant on the first floor, double check

Jobs created, triple check.

Go for it!!!!

schvanstuchen
schvanstuchen

Bartending school, culinary arts center, blackjack dealer school AND a full service restaurant. WOW that seems like a lot for this little 2 story building. Anyway, great to see another vacant building reused!

flyguy
flyguy

Good stuff. Makes sense.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

Good for them. This is the best buy on the block. It has a great skeleton: modern construction (steel, concrete), open on three sides (street, street, alley) giving it plenty of light, easily segregated second and first floors (and a huge basement to boot), the views from the second floor are excellent--looking down Main from the Hyatt to the Liberty buildings you're left with the impression that you're right in the center of a real metropolis). 'bout time someone scooped this one up.

Lego1981
Lego1981

Sounds AWESOME!!!! Luv the plan for a 'full-service' restaurant on the first floor. This end of Main St. NEEDS ONE!!!!!

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