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“Make-it on Main!” – New Restaurant Concept Competition

Character releases competition for one year of free rent at 808.5 Main Street

Development opportunities are coming in all shapes and sizes these days. Now, ‘Character’ – a property company (affiliate of Legacy Development) has announced a business concept competition (called Make-it on Main) to find a restaurant tenant for a sensational new space, plus free rent for the first year. Along with the first year rent-free, Character will also offer the tenant “supportive resources” to help ensure the success of the operation. To that end, Character has enlisted the services of Kimelberg PLLC (legal assistance), Oxford Pennant (mentoring), and Block Club (branding) to help provide “wrap-around services” for the winner. In addition, Character will allocate financial modeling assistance to the winning concept.

According to the Character team, the reason for offering this unusual deal is to allow a tenant to become securely established. The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty in the restaurant industry. At the same time, the competition will also serve to elevate the game of vying restaurateurs who will up their own games in order to secure the 808.5 Main Street package deal. Similar to how tech start-ups compete for a variety of fiscal and service-oriented offerings, Character feels that the restaurant industry could greatly benefit from similar tactics. 

Character is a partnership between Legacy Development’s Frank Chinnici, and Canadian based investment company Withrow South Capital Corp.’s Anthony Hammill. Chinnici and Hammill purchased 810 Main Street in 2015, and then Theater Place in 2019. This past May the two purchased six properties located between Ellicott and Oak Streets to the North of Genesee Street, essentially “saving them from further deteriorated at the hands of Bruce Adler.”

The Make-it on Main challenge competition is Chinnici and Hammill’s latest and greatest plan to energize Main Street, while empowering a deserving restaurant operator at the same time.

Anthony Hammill says, “Renewed success of Buffalo’s resurgence will come from bringing together the amazing, unique spaces in downtown with the right people and ideas. With this contest we hope to give a leg up to a deserving candidate to create a lasting business for this truly one-of-a-kind space.

First floor
Second floor

The compact and narrow 808.5 Main Street space could be a spectacular home for a neat concept restaurant, especially as it is nestled in-between two recently renovated and occupied historic brick structures. It just so happens that 810 Main Street is the new home of Oxford Pennant’s Manufacturing Studio – the company is in the process of relocating 30 employees into the building. Then, Legacy Development will have its own offices on the third floor, adding ten employees to the mix. On the fourth floor, Legacy Design Studio (an urban problem solving and design think tank) will be setting up shop. The 808 Main Street building is currently home to K Art studio and gallery – a design, art and tech-centric co-working space located on the first floor.

808.5 Main Street is ideally located in close proximity to the Medical Campus, downtown Main Street (Metro Rail), and Allentown. The footprint is ideal in that it acts to bridge the two accompanying buildings together, while creating a central focal point and anchor for the complex. 

Respondents may be experienced, an existing business looking to expand, or a newcomer endeavoring to create a new restaurant for the first time. Applicants must create and submit a fully realized business plan, including a concept description, market analysis, sample menu, financials, and branding. For full contest rules and guidance, please visit and follow @characterpropertyco on Instagram for updates! If you are a potential sponsor interested in joining on, please reach out to

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, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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