Hatch Restaurant to Expand

Mayor Byron Brown unveiled plans for another round of major improvements to the Erie Basin Marina.  He recommended an allocation of $1.36 million in capital improvement funding from the Citizens Planning Council for an upgrade and expansion of the Hatch Restaurant, a popular summer-time destination for city residents, boaters and visitors.
“My administration continues to make major investments at Erie Basin Marina because we know people want more access to Buffalo’s beautiful waterfront, a premier downtown and regional attraction that’s filled with the potential for even more economic growth,”  said Mayor Brown.  “The Hatch Restaurant continues to grow in popularity.  Improvements to the restaurant will only enhance the experience of visitors who have made Erie Basin Marina among their favorite summer-time destinations.”
In 2012, the city spent nearly a million dollars ($930,000) on improvements which included a new $400,000 Boardwalk, as well as new handicap accessible restrooms, and new security gates for boaters at the Marina. 
Construction will soon begin on the building of a new ice cream gazebo, with an additional project cost of $406,000.  The anticipated $1.3 million in capital funds will be spent on another round of major upgrades at the Hatch, including a new second story patio.  
With this latest investment, Mayor Brown’s Administration will have invested almost $2.7 million at Erie Basin Marina.  Other recent investments include: construction of the beach at the Marina, sidewalk paving and picnic tables, new lighting and enhanced security. 

About the author  ⁄ jlb716

47 comments
whatever
whatever

btw, kettle - did you go get the $10 that Mark H offered you over in that Gala Waters thread?

(clever if you've invented a way to monetize trolling at $10 a pop like that - lol, maybe if you can scale that up to a national level, it could be part of the next stimulus!)

whatever
whatever

whathaveyou>"Without that it wouldn't be much of a laugh."

Hmmm, I dunno about that, kettle… it seemed popular. Notice pampinform's comment reviewed it as 'brilliant'. Kang praised it too. Tully said it's better than some show about New Jersey.

Perhaps you'd have enjoyed it more if your sense of humor relaxed a bit?

whathaveyou>"Bini, yeah one commenter called me "whatever" twice."

Yep, I hadn't noticed that Hoyt/Gala Waters thread where you played with Mark_Hitchcock a little … maybe MH will want to read a little more closely - that's always a good idea here or anywhere, lol

"Realist"
"Realist"

Thank you for the constructive criticism of my routine. Although it may be just a case of the blind leading the blind as we conservative culture warriors are more known for white hot rage than having a sense of humor. Your play is funny but more so because of the point and laugh hypocrisy of someone who regularly uses strawman arguments criticizing others for the same thing. Without that it wouldn't be much of a laugh.

Bini, yeah one commenter called me "whatever" twice. Based on that I think I've got wha's signature selective principals, pretend objectivity, and manufactured outrage down pat.

whatever
whatever

"straw men are erected for the predictable exercise of being mowed down"

True, and that straw man reference reminds me of the critically acclaimed play I wrote about him and another guy who likes those so much.

(How can Paul think I disdain culture? lol)

Slu
Slu

Yeah - an investment by the business owner. Not by the city. For 1.3MM, it had better be a 4-star joint. Not a crappy burger joint.

MEG
MEG

I was just on the water last night and thought the exact same thing! For all the people that can afford boats or tourists taking tours probably think it's a prison. And really the first step is a new sign!

brownteeth
brownteeth

Why should I pony up the facts? Maybe the city should be more transparent with how they spend our money? My source is pretty reliable, however I would love to be proven wrong, if so then by all means the city should invest this money.

But if they are not recouping it via higher lease amount and/or percentages of sales, and this privately operated business gets to make more money with no risk, then I think my comments are justified.

Either way, you can't argue this isn't an absurd amount of money for a seasonal hotdog stand. The numbers simply don't add up.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

RE: aren't BR readers sharper? . . . apparently not always.

I don't think anyone mistook him for you in the Hoyt thread. I think those who bought his line don't know you and just imagined he was some wing nut. Amazingly enough, though, some did take him seriously.

It's like being in a college intro to lit class where everyone reads the same essay and the professor questions the class to see if everyone can understand what they read. And it is then revealed that half your classmates have absolutely no clue that straw men are erected for the predictable exercise of being mowed down. No, they are easily led astray, confidently arguing that the author truly believes in that straw man. And you're left thinking: it's gonna be easy to stay in the top half of this class . . .

whatever
whatever

Well sure, ket, if your jokes ever become good they'll be easy to appreciate. But 'laugh now' signs won't light up merely for your effort. This isn't like Letterman's studio that way.

Looks like you're trying too hard by throwing the kitchen sink so much. I'd suggest more relaxed finesse with precision might be at least a step toward funny. You'll have to figure the rest of it out as you go along.

Maybe someone should open a comedy school. The way things usually are around here, it might even be handed public money for industrial' development like condos or wine stores!

(btw - who in that other thread seemed to think you're me?

…aren't BR readers usually much sharper than that? )

grad94
grad94

fair enough. how about dropping the innuendo and ponying up with some facts? who's the tenant? what are the terms of the lease? what other leases does the tenant have with the city?

brownteeth
brownteeth

This is not a catch 22. This is a huge misuse of public funds. Should they upgrade the infrastructure at EBM? yes. Should they maintain the Hatch building? yes. However this is a huge amount of money for an icecream/hotdog stand that's open 6 months a year and that is PRIVATELY operated.

Like I said in another thread, if you were to build/renovate your own hotdog stand at what point does this amount of investment outweigh any potential profits? Especially for a seasonal fast food business. For this amount of money you could buy land and build a brand new full service restaurant on it.

The same guy, Mike, who runs EBM & the Hatch also has the privaledge of operating Clinton's Dish 500 feet away. I also know he's pretty well connected in City Hall. I think he also has one of those no show Water Authority jobs. I have never heard of this much of an investment by the city into a successful privately run business. Will his lease amount go up accordingly? I doubt it will.

brownteeth
brownteeth

It's not, the building is owned by the city but they lease it to a private business. The same business also runs the marina and Clinton's Dish. Talk about a monopoly.

"Realist"
"Realist"

I think someone who was truly fair minded and objective would appreciate my jokes, even if they may or may not be the butt of them.

My wha impression is so good some of the readers of the latest Hoyt Lake article actually thought I was you. Now that's funny.

panomaniac
panomaniac

they need to paint the retaining wall, the view looks like crap from the water!

whatever
whatever

This 2009 audit by the city comptroller might answer some things Allentwnguy asked.

http://www.ci.buffalo.ny.us/files/1_2_1/AuditReports/ErieBasinMarinaAudit2009.pdf

It also describes some serious concerns the comptroller's office had about the marina's operation.

"...

It should be disclosed that the spouse of the President of Brand-On is an employee of the Department of Public Works, Parks and Streets, Division of Water. He is the representative of the company that dealt with our Audit staff, during this Audit.

Initial Findings

As a result of our Audit, we have serious concerns regarding the management of the Erie Basin Marina.

There are numerous instances of incomplete and/or unverifiable data relating to the verification of compliance with the lease terms.

In some instances payment was made under terms that differed from those of the lease, and expenses were incurred without approval by the City, as required by the lease terms. Safeguards to ensure revenue accuracy was either disregarded or non-existent.

Below is a summary of our findings and recommendations, outlining problem areas and actions required to become compliant with lease terms.

..."

[8 more pages]

I've no idea either way whether any problems described in there have been dealt with since that audit.

Aside from any of that, a possible change idea which occurs to me is perhaps the marina lease should be divided into to separately awardable parts - one for operating boat docking/fueling and one for food vending. Currently all of those are combined into one lease/vendor.

If divided up, perhaps more vendor competition could result at times whenever the lease is renewed. Some vendors who'd be very qualified to bid on running the Hatch might not be interested in operating the boat aspects (and vice versa).

whatever
whatever

Tim, it looks like kettle is in a Colbert style persona these days with that new screen name. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be humorous satire.

If only he could somehow borrow some talent or wit from Karl Malone it might be more entertaining, but let's give him a chance.... maybe it will get better with more practice.

ladyinwhite
ladyinwhite

Owned by the city leased to a tenant. Will their rent go up to justify this or just their personal profits?

Tim
Tim

You're comment is so full of crap I won't even address most of it. But if you had read the other comments, you would know that the property and (restaurant?) is owned by the city. Thanks.

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

As should the profits, if there are any.

"Realist"
"Realist"

As a severely conservative Republican voter, I expect... no, I demand that government tax and spend to give me all of niceties that make my lifestyle possible. A big military, tax cuts for the gentry, and big opulent suburbs for me and other decent people.

But if someone wants to divert money from those things towards something I don't see value in, I start slamming the OUTRAGE button and foam at the mouth over what I have determined to be government excess.

A private restaurant operator having their city owned building upgraded? Grrrrrr I DON'T THINK SO! This is the city we're talking about here so must be some element of corruption. The only thing the government ought to be building downtown are parking lots, jails, and more elevated highways because those are the only things I see value in for that place.

I need to scream about this in a town hall meeting somewhere!

KenS
KenS

I live in the city and go here often in the summer. Overpriced, staff is miserable, and service is slow beyond belief at lunch time.

The EBM is the perfect example of why the city should have NOTHING to do with the outer harbor which they are looking to get their paws on.

The city has thousands of issues to be dealt with, yet they want to play waterfront developer.

grad94
grad94

wow, do we ever have a catch-22 attitude towards the city.

when the city owns a property, we blast them when they neglect it (the hot dog stand at broderick park). then we blast them when they invest in it (the hatch).

granted, the city has its share of lapses and poor policies. no argument there. so do businesses, charitable organizations, cultural institutions, religions, etc. no area of organized human endeavor has a monopoly on either wisdom or incompetence.

but the knee-jerk tendency to chalk up -all- government action to corruption and bad faith is just plain self-defeating.

to paraphrase a slogan popular with gun-rights people: if public service is outlawed (i.e. made morally suspect), only outlaws will do public service. or, if that analogy is imperfect, if government is always and forever evil, how do you expect to recruit good people to run it?

Tim
Tim

If the place is costing the city 1.3, it better look damn good.

Allentwnguy
Allentwnguy

If that is the case then the books should be public. That would be some interesting reading.

Chris
Chris

Actually I'm sorry... The title is not misleading. It is just that people reading and commenting are confused with what is going on.

I'm glad that the city is being a responsive landlord in this case.

Chris
Chris

I think that the title is completely misleading. Isn't the city making an investment in the space that "the hatch" currently occupies?

Unless they are signed to lifetime lease for the building the city will be able to offer this space to the highest bidder when the current lease expires. In five years this space will be worth much more than it is now.

Now this is making a BIG assumption - that the city will offer a fair and open process to bring in an operation that is the highest and most qualified bidder.

The Boss
The Boss

The Hatch is not good. I don't get it. It is the opposite of an "attraction"....well Slu I guess it is a worthy investment to make it better.

jag
jag

Certainly depends. Obviously rows of commercial grade equipment and freezers is big $$$. Presumably they have to run utilities to the new build as well which also is big $$$. It's safe to say it's not 400K worth of drywall costs.

No_Illusions
No_Illusions

According to the Buffalo News apparently Hatch's profits were way up this year. Its a very popular spot and have a near monopoly on the Erie Basin Marina. It guarantees their success, regardless of looks.

Also its a shack that sells burgers, visitors are not expecting much.

Slu
Slu

The Hatch is not good. I don't get it. It is the opposite of an "attraction".

nyc
nyc

Everything about Erie basin marina needs to be reworked. Is this another hack job? I have not seen one worthwhile improvement in decades.

Allentwnguy
Allentwnguy

Have you ever heard of a landlord of a business putting over a million dollars into a building where a business existed? NO, it is not good business. A landlord makes money. How much does the Hatch "owner" pay the city in rent? Do they pay utilities? Do they pay for their own equipment? Will the city ever make back the millions of taxpayers money they are putting into this property? Prudent questions for a "Landlord". Which we are since it is our money getting put into the Hatch.

"Realist"
"Realist"

That's right. A landlord investing in their property is pretty normal but when the city does it it's "CROOKED THEFT!"

Outrage!

bydesign
bydesign

All money theft and gifting aside - every go on there? Holy crap - it is really pricey. The place is over staffed and under-performing. There is no professionalism. There is no gratitude for a customers business. There is no accountability. And it is tolerated - and now - REWARDED! THAT is the classic Buffalo that should be seen as shameful.

junior bison
junior bison

I like the fact that we are investing in the waterfront and the city but can't understand why an "ice cream gazebo" is costing taxpayers $406,000! You can build a 3,000 square foot luxury home for less than that. Does anyone else think this is costing us too much money?

ForestBird
ForestBird

The City is not investing anything - it is a gift to the operator of The Hatch. It is also a theft from taxpayers, and so crooked that it defies comprehension that it is allowed.

hamp
hamp

Get the folks from Larkinville to serve as advisors on this and it will look good and be successful.

elmdog
elmdog

I completely agree but this one wont hurt and could turn an eye sore into a destination

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

I, too, have to wonder why the city is investing in a private business like this. Doesn't make sense.

Allentwnguy
Allentwnguy

Why does the city invest in a privately run business? Rent the property and let the entrepreneur invest in his business. I can see investing in buildings if you are making the money back in rent. But I fail to wee why the city sets up kitchens and buildings for private enterprises. Prime real estate location, city pumps millions into improvements for you, how can you loose?

elmdog
elmdog

With all of this great momentum it might be time to vote in a real mayor ........ We haven't had one in 30 years

LouisTully
LouisTully

How about less expensive food prices. And a larger ice cream selection than about 9 flavors.

elmdog
elmdog

If they dont get rid of the concrete jungle they call a restaurant, bathrooms and eating area, it wont be a success...Plus it always smells like crap in that area....I really like the 2nd floor patio......If there was money to be spent, a SILO style restaurant like Lewiston would be great....

Jesse
Jesse

Invest in some rentable BB guns for obnoxious seagull target practice...

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