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The Iron Works to Bring Life to Illinois Street

Construction will soon be underway on The Iron Works, a live music club planned for Illinois Street.  The club and building is owned by a partnership that includes Trettel, developer Sam Savarino and Savarino’s partners in Lagerhaus 95, Ed Plata and Dan Mania.  Building permits were pulled on Tuesday.  The goal is to have the club up and running for at least half of the summer season.

The two-story property at 49 Illinois Street behind First Niagara Center will feature live music at least five nights a week and host local and national acts. The club will also be open on First Niagara Center and Canal Side event dates.  A limited food menu is planned.  The name pays homage to the building’s previous industrial uses.

BuffaloIronWoD05aR07aP01ZL-Madison7a.jpgLocal developer Roger Trettel purchased the brick structure, located between the arena and the mixed-use Cobblestone Lofts project on Mississippi Street, in April 2008.  Trettel’s original plan called for office space in the building.  As the neighborhood has begun to develop into a waterfront leisure and entertainment district, the concept of a music-oriented venue seemed to make more sense.

“I like how the project has evolved over time,” says Trettel.  ‘This will be a heck of a lot more fun than using it for my offices as originally intended.”

Food and beverage management at the new club will be handled by the management staff at Lagerhaus 95.

Inside, a portion of the building’s second floor will be removed to allow patrons to view the stage. The interior will be flexible allowing for smaller events up to concerts holding up to 800.  The venue will add to the entertainment options in the Cobblestone District that includes Lagerhaus 95, Cobblestone Bar, Elements Bar and Grill and Helium Comedy Club.


Minimal changes are planned to the exterior of the building.  A new front entrance is planned and a side entrance and canopy will be added. The new entrance will be removed when weather permits allowing the club to be open to Illinois Street. 


The development team is having preliminary discussion with the City and others to put a mural on the exterior of the building.  Behind Iron Works, Savarino Cos. commissioned a mural for the lobby of 26 Mississippi Street by Matthew Grote was this week (above). It is of the Edward M. Cotter Fireboat.  At the same time, the lobby of 95 Perry Street is having a show of Matthew’s recent work (below).  The Grote show is the most recent of many art shows 95 Perry Street has hosted over the past year.  Savarino is aiming to have at least four different art shows a year in the multi-use building.

Matthew Ogre Grote.jpg


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is ‘queenseyes’ – Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world’s largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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  • Stan The Man

    Excellent news. Lagerhaus 95 is one of my favorite restaurants.
    One of the articles about Iron Works said that an alleyway next to the building will be converted to a walkway linking Illinois Street and Mississippi Street. That’s awesome!

  • elmdog

    really cool area that is shaping up….Comedy, sports, gambling and music all within a few blocks…..Promote this,

  • Travelrrr

    Thank GAWD Buffalo is starting to embrace its rust belt/gritty past–this is an infinitely interesting development.

  • brownteeth

    I love that this block is becoming its own destination and not waiting on something else to be the catalyst.

  • No_Illusions

    I would love to see some plans for new builds on Perry and Mississippi Street, to replace the surface lots.

  • Lego1981

    Those massive parking lots are keeoing that ‘dead zone’ feel. Untill they are developed, I dont see this area being a 24/7 neighborhood.

  • Chris

    Yes, can’t wait to see a residential/mixed use ring around canalside. Building a working class income housing along side some lux (perhaps in the same building) would help. Plus if you built enough you might be able to shift people out of those awful buildings near canalside.
    A mix of lower and higher end residential is very popular in NYC where it is almost a requirement of any big developments.
    Public private partnership would be outstanding. Make money off the high-end while generating a baseline income from state and federal government.

  • urbanbflo

    Any word on the Blacksmith building? Or at least fines given to the owner of the building? Last I heard the roof is still leaking and the city has not enforced anything that came of the court order to stop demolition. If not, loosing that building on Illinois Street would be a CRIME.

  • SecedefromNYS

    Blacksmith Building – Demolition by neglect…..
    Kind of like the White Bros Livery.

  • brownteeth

    Me too!

  • LouisTully

    Doesn’t Carr – the owner of the blacksmith – also own the Cobblestone Bar? Why bother promoting his establishment when he would easily make a Top 10 list of negligent property owners?
    “The venue will add to the entertainment options in the Cobblestone District that includes Lagerhaus 95, Cobblestone Bar…”

  • Cam33r4

    I agree, but it’s smarter to tackle the neglected buildings that are already there before we work on new development over the surface lots. Nothing was built in a day; it’ll just take time.

  • Old First Ward

    This is my comment from the last update on this building back in February:
    I saw a rendering of this project during a meeting 2/21 in the OFW Center in which Sam Savarino was present. Before I provide an update on the other properties in question on South Park Ave. here is a little background info.
    Concerning the properties on South Park Ave and Illinois St., the first building at the corner, number 110 South Park Ave., sits on nearly a quarter acre lot. The property extends 220 feet down Illinois and 50 feet across South Park Ave. covering almost the entire width of the blacksmith shop on the backside. It is owned by Darryl Carr with a Bowmansville NY PO Box mailing address. In 2009 Carr purchased the building from James Downing for $500,000. Downing purchased the building from long time owner Phoenix Die Casting in 1998.
    Carr also owns the building at the other corner, number 130 South Park Ave. at the corner of Mississippi St. In 2003 Carr purchased that building from William Crawford for $350,000.
    The blacksmith shop at 118 South Park Ave. (the middle building next to the alley) sits on a lot that is 66’x 100′. This building was also owned outright by Carr. Carr purchased the building from long time owner Ed Rudnicki back in 2001 for $150,000. However, Carr sold it in 2010 to EQUITY TRUST CO/PARK AVENUE ESTATES LLC. Now the interesting thing with this sale is that it was sold to the LLC as a clean sale and get this, for $1. NOT a quit claim BTW. My own speculation here says that Carr removed the building from his name, maybe because he was being pressured by the courts, city, preservationists, or potential buyers. What the sale accomplishes is to shield him from direct liability and leaves a paper trail to trace ownership to him. In other words it sounds like the LLC is an ownership front with no other purpose. Carr is not selling this building for a net loss of $149,999 after nine years of ownership.
    Which brings us back to Savarino. At the 2/21 meeting Savarino mentioned something about this block during his presentation. It was here that the rendering was shown for the building at 49 Illinois St. He also had a rendering for the South Park Ave properties that was I believe a conceptual view of possibilities. Savarino was immediately questioned about this and he quietly withdrew any factual comment with a large grin. However under more scrutiny he casually, but not directly admitted that things are being “seriously looked into” and that there are ownership issues to deal with. My impression of this was that Savarino, and or another group, are in negotiations or pursuing other means to wrestle these properties from Carr (who was not named at the time). He did confirm that these indeed are on the board for badly needed development and appears very interested. IMO, with a high probability by his company. So stay tuned for hopefully some good news.

  • Baby Finster

    You are a fabulist aren’t you?

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