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Cloister Redevelopment Planned

The long-vacant Cloister restaurant is expected to have a new owner soon with plans to redevelop the site.  Business First reports that chiropractor Dr. Scott Croce, brother of restaurateur/developer Mark Croce, is in contract to purchase the property at 472 Delaware, corner of Virginia. 

Croce’s plan is to construct a new two or three-story building on the prime Allentown Historic Preservation District site and relocate his practice from 369 Delaware.  Space will be available for other tenants and the project could include a residential component.

Business First has the scoop:

Croce is buying the property from local developer Anthony Trusso, who bought the property five years ago. The deal was brokered by Cory Haqq and Alan Hastings from Hastings Cohn Real Estate.

“I look at it as a prime corner that needs a beautiful building,” Croce said.

Croce is still working out his final plans for the site.

Initially, he is considering razing much of the former restaurant portion of the property and replacing it with a two-story building that may approach 12,000-square-feet that will house the offices of his firm, Erie County Chiropractic, and other medical-related offices. Croce said he may even consider a third floor that may be home to three apartments.

“The carriage will be the focus if you look at it from the streetscape,” Croce said. “I’ve given the design a lot of thought, especially in the last few days. I want to make this a centerpiece for the city.”

Croce would like to start the construction work later this fall or by early next year and be in the building within the next 12 months.

“It’s a location that deserves to be brought back to life, especially with everything less than has happened on Delaware (Avenue) in recent years,” Croce said.

 

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The property previously contained a residence (above) where Mark Twain lived from 1870 to 1871.  It was destroyed by fire in 1963, but the carriage house has been incorporated into the current building on the site.  The Cloister, one of Buffalo’s fabled restaurants, was opened by James D. DiLapo, Jr. in 1964  and closed in 1989 (below).  Business First and the Buffalo Law Journal occupied the building until 2001 when the publisher relocated to the Lafayette Court building on Main Street. The building has been vacant since.

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In early 2006, Buffalo attorney Peter J. Fiorella, Jr. attempted to revive the restaurant, but could not attract the almost $2 million in financing necessary to pull it off.

The 9,497 sq.ft. building with 20 parking spaces was purchased in August 2006 by Anthony Trusso for $476,000. Later the same year, Country Park Child Care announced plans to open in the location. That proposal also fell by the wayside.

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