Univer­sity Heights bar wins Coun­cil ap­proval, but with con­di­tions

The Buffalo News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Dei­dre Wil­liams

Main Place bar will open soon in the Univer­sity Heights neigh­bor­hood, but it won’t mar­ket to those too young to legally drink.

The Com­mon Coun­cil ap­proved An­thony J. Sordetto’s special-use ap­pli­ca­tion to open the bar at 3144 Main St. de­spite mount­ing op­po­si­tion from neigh­bors, col­lege stu­dents and busi­ness own­ers con­cerned that the es­tab­lish­ment would be­come a nui­sance.

The unan­i­mous ap­proval, which was granted for two years so that of­fi­cials can mon­i­tor the bar to make sure it does not be­come a prob­lem, also came with two con­di­tions: the re­moval of black tint from the win­dows and no mar­ket­ing to un­der-age pa­trons. Sordetto had planned to host oc­ca­sional events for those 18 and older.

Af­ter weeks of de­bate and wran­gling, Sordetto said he was happy with the de­ci­sion and agreed to the con­di­tions.

“I feel good, and I’m look­ing for­ward to mov­ing on, and I feel like we’re go­ing to do well,” he said af­ter the Coun­cil meet­ing. He added that he has re­ceived “a lot of sup­port” from the com­mu­nity.

But pres­sure to deny Sordetto’s re­quest came from all sides in re­cent weeks, with crit­ics say­ing the area doesn’t need an­other bar, given the well-doc­u­mented prob­lems in the com­mu­nity with col­lege stu­dents drink­ing and par­ty­ing.

Univer­sity Com­mon Coun­cil Mem­ber Rasheed N.C. Wy­att, for in­stance, said his of­fice had been flooded with calls from neigh­bors and nearby prop­erty own­ers who op­pose the plan.

The Univer­sity at Buf­falo’s Stu­dent As­so­ci­a­tion passed a res­o­lu­tion last week urg­ing the Coun­cil to re­ject Sordetto’s pro­posal.

Mickey Vertino, pres­i­dent of the Univer­sity Heights Col­lab­o­ra­tive, re­cently sent the Coun­cil a let­ter say­ing the bar “bla­tantly” goes against the Col­lab­o­ra­tive’s vi­sion for the com­mu­nity and “takes a step back­ward in the work we have done to stop be­ing po­si­tioned as a stu­dent-drink­ing haven.”

And be­fore that, neigh­bor­hood busi­ness own­ers Tucker Curtin of Steer Res­tau­rant and Lake Ef­fect Diner; Robert Reger Jr. of Reger Funeral Home; and Michael Starks, owner of a mixed-use build­ing at 3142 Main St., hired at­tor­ney Charles D. Grieco to try to per­suade Coun­cil mem­bers to deny Sordetto’s re­quest be­cause Sordetto did not com­pletely fill out the ap­pli­ca­tion and that the plan leaves many unan­swered ques­tions.

Sordetto orig­i­nally re­quested a special-use per­mit to op­er­ate the es­tab­lish­ment as a “res­tau­rant that serves al­co­hol and has live mu­sic” but would not ini­tially have a kitchen.

Main Place could be open in the next few weeks, Sordetto said.

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