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Hertel Corner Seeks Cafe…or Something…

Idea post inspired by BRO
Reader Ed

Ed, a
resident of North Buffalo, wrote to say that he read yesterday’s Comfort Zone
piece and got to thinking about the other BRO feature, Cool Buffalo Real
Estate Listing of the Week
. He mashed the two together and came up with a
hybrid idea that features this piece of property at 1518 Hertel, corner of Wellington.

Ed says that
after living in both Allentown and the Elmwood Village over the span of 10
years, he and his wife made the tough decision to leave Elmwood to be able to
buy their own home. “We were priced out of the Elmwood Village but still
wanted a completely walkable, urban neighborhood,” Ed says.  “The next best thing…Hertel.”

In the two
years the couple has lived there, they’ve seen the momentum building, with real
estate values appreciating. “Come to find out there were three other
houses, on our block alone, with young professionals that had made the jump to
Hertel from Elmwood,” according to Ed.  “Also in that time, two of our friends and their young
families made the move. I just wish potential businesses and entrepreneurs knew
more of this sea change and would set their sights on Hertel. The business and
client base is here.”

So, with a
wish for more neighborhood amenities, Ed thought of the property at 1518,
saying, “I think that storefront needs a serious spotlight shined on it.
This location has been empty for a year, and as I pass it every single day (I
live extremely close by) I can’t stop thinking of the potential this building
has. It’s in the literal heart of the Hertel/North Park/Parkside area. The curb
appeal alone is outstanding, with its brick facade, awnings, and outdoor clock,
situated on a highly visible corner. I would think this location would cry out
to potential entrepreneurs or existing business owners looking for a Hertel
presence.”

Ed believes
Hertel is the proverbial food court of Buffalo, and says the obvious choice for
the space would be some sort restaurant like a small soup and sandwich cafe,
coffeehouse or sushi place that doesn’t require a lot of space.

“I
think Hertel is really missing that hip, relaxed place like a
SPoT or Sweetness_7 type establishment would bring,” Ed suggests. “Just
think back to the corner of Elmwood and Cleveland before Spot, versus after.
Also, since Hertel is a nighttime destination, a new pub or wine bar would make
a great addition. Any of those would most likely be an instant hit with the
built-in, high-density neighborhood audience, which is increasingly looking for
more out of their neighborhood with the influx of former Elmwood Village
renters, turned Hertel home-owners, plus the weekly Friday and Saturday
pilgrimage to Hertel from all points WNY.”

hertel poster.jpg

As for
retail, Ed thinks a small indie record store would work in that location, too.
“The technology of the day has relegated physical music-buying to a niche
market. I would think that just as indie/used book stores have found their
niche–on Hertel, I might add–that this might be the perfect location/size storefront
to browse the used bins, pick up the new indie CD/vinyl of the day and chat
music with real people…in the flesh,” he says.  “Hell, throw a coffee bar in there with the music, and
recreate the success that was Spot/New World, on a smaller, more rent
affordable scale.”  He points
to the move of places like New Buffalo Graphics and Cone Five Pottery that made
the jump from Elmwood to Hertel.

“So
that’s just my take on bringing awareness to the space,” Ed says. “As
a resident of Hertel/North Park, I’d love to see more retail/restaurant choices
for those that live here, and offer something that is somehow uniquely Hertel
to bring in visitors, who will in turn want to live here, growing and
stabilizing the neighborhood.”

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