After posting on the holiday pop-up market at Market Arcade (see here), I decided to take a walk through the building to see what was what. Fortunately I ran into Novi Paluch, owner of Sasmita Boutique (see here), who told me that she was thrilled to hear the news that more activity was on the way. We talked a while about the different businesses that occupied the building, and then she pointed to the Buffalo Niagara Visitor Center down the hallway. “That’s where the pop-up market is going,” she told me. “The Visitor Center is moving to the Brisbane building on Lafayette Square.”
The news of the Visitor’s Center moving over to Lafayette Square was pretty interesting. Besides being a very informative presence for visitors to Downtown Buffalo, they have a bunch of Buffalo merchandise that will look great occupying a new storefront. The Visitor Center will join a number of other new businesses on the square, including EmbroidMe, Boutique in the Square (see below) and Edible Arrangements. A couple more occupied storefronts in the Brisbane building, and we will actually have some retail density – as you can see, both corner locations are currently unoccupied, leaving huge potential for the block. The Visitor’s Center will be moving into the Hunt Commercial location, across from the Lafayette Hotel.
Getting back to the Market Arcade, there is even some retail density there. Along with Sasmita Boutique, other retailers include J. Christian Fashion Boutique, Mazurek’s Bakery, and Queen City Gallery. CEPA is also in the building, as are a few other culturals.
As I stood there talking to Novi, up walked developer and owner of the Market Arcade, Nick Sinatra. Nick shared with me that he is putting his best foot forward, and ramping up the retail component within the building. At this point he is weighing all of the best options, including possibly turning the (now closed) Perfetto Restaurant into a series of food/market components. “The place is too big,” he said. “I need to carve it up, and am thinking of some different things that would make the space work. Instead of one big restaurant it might be better to have a bunch of food offerings with communal seating areas.”
Nick also pointed out to me that there needs to be better connectivity between the sprawling and disjointed restaurant and the Market Arcade. Already he is considering converting a small empty storefront within the Market Arcade into a corridor that would bridge the food and the retail. Smart.
Nick told me that he already has a restaurant that has agreed to have a “pop up” presence within the building. Newbury Street will be taking over a small space in the Perfetto footprint (with windows facing Main Street). That could lead to a more permanent situation, and it could help to attract interest in the rest of the building. To me, the concept of a number of different culinary offerings in one large space is a no brainer. They can all play off each other. And when office workers with multiple food preferences eat out together, they can all go to the same place and order from different eateries (a local take on a traditionally national food court).
If both the restaurant and retail start to fire on all cylinders, we could have a big success on our hands. Nick is looking at all brand new wrought iron café tables, lighting, benches, flower urns, etc. for the atrium of the Market Arcade, as well as a completely new, more traditional color scheme (along the lines of what you might see at the Cleveland Arcade).
After all is said and done, one thing is clear. Nick isn’t going to dilly-dally on this one. He’s already begun to work on this intense project, and the outcome will most assuredly be a real boon for the city.