Saved by the Bell (Tower)

This was the scene at 375 Colvin Ave. back in March.

Not depicted in this video was the anguish on the part of the nearby residents. Buffalo neighbors were reverting back to “yesterday’s mindset” and began worrying about what could become of the property. Fears loomed that the land would remain an empty construction site for years to come or a gas station or convenient store would set up shop on the prominent corner that once served as a community gathering place.

None of those scenarios would have been good for any of us, so I guess there was reason for concern. But this is the new Buffalo, and this blog is, if nothing else, positive and optimistic. So when I heard that the owner of the company that was demolishing the church bought the property and actually had plans for it, I wasn’t pessimistic, I was ecstatic.

Sam DeFranks, owner of Apollo Dismantling Services and former North Buffalo resident, said he fell in love with the property, especially the towering steeple that can be seen from blocks away. So much that he decided to leave the tower standing and began working on a way to incorporate it into his plan for a high end apartment complex.

Here’s what he came up with:



parking ebtry

Pretty awesome if you ask me. Actually, no. Not just pretty awesome. Fricken’ incredible!

At a community meeting on September 18th, hosted by Mr. DeFranks, he shared the above renderings, provided details of the project and fielded questions from the residents. Some highlights include:

  • 14 one bedroom, 26 two bedroom units
  • One dedicated parking space per unit along with bike storage
  • The tower is restored and incorporated into the design
  • Central, second level courtyard area for residents
  • Garbage facilities are enclosed/concealed
  • Future option to convert to condos

CourtyardTo my delight (and I’m sure to Mr. DeFranks’), there was just overwhelming support for this project. Coupling this great news with free pizza made this one of the best community meetings I’ve been a part of.

Minor requests that the parking lot be gated and the premises contain ample foliage were welcomed by Mr. DeFranks, and no concern was left on the table. He expects the rest of the city and construction “paperwork” to take them into the winter months and he hopes to break ground on the tentatively named “Bell Tower Lofts” in early spring. Time to complete would be about a year.

This project along with the proposal for St. Margaret’s School could bring upwards of 100 more people living in the heart of the Hertel Avenue district, all while restoring the vitality of such prominent landmarks.  Yet another reason to love what’s going on in North Buffalo!


A Sweet Addition Coming to Hertel

I’d like to pre-order a pumpkin, lemon meringue, chocolate cream, oh and coconut cream please.

‘To Pie For’ coming soon to Hertel Avenue (in the old DiGiulio’s location).

First pie-only business in the city?  (Well there’s the English Pork Pie Company but they don’t specialize in dessert pies) Oh how sweet it is!

**OK scratch that, now that I’ve read the sign a bit closer it’s PIZZA pie, not DESSERT pie.  Haha false alarm for all you fellow sweet tooths!**


The Times are a Changin’ on Hertel Ave.

We heard a rumor around the time we were waiting to close on our house in early 2011 that the former Accessories on the Avenue shop was going to become a Spot Coffee. It was a grueling summer watching and waiting, but it happened as promised and I’m now regularly wired with caffeine and happily contributing to the Spot Coffee share price.

spot hertelBut putting aside my selfish desire for a coffee fix, the opening of Spot Coffee started a bit of a movement on Hertel Ave. Coffee shops attract people, and people are what other businesses need to succeed. Since that time we’ve enjoyed quite the boom in my opinion.

Here’s an off-the-top-of-my-head list of new or expanded places that have popped up in the past few years:

    • Blue Hill Kitchen & Home
    • Blue Collar Men’s ShopMes Que
    • Chic and Sweet
    • Canvas@1206
    • CRAVing
    • Village Beer Merchant
    • Globe Market
    • Mes Que
    • Caramici’s Bistro & Bakery
    • House of Olives
    • La Tavola
    • Encompass Coffee
    • Vasilis Express

And on the docket for later this year, Belsito.

Colvin EstatesWhile I stuck to strictly Hertel Ave. locations in the above list, I think it’s noteworthy to also mention the new Colvin Estates housing development (Rachel Vincent Way) that’s nearing the completion of phase one, as well as the partial demolition and residential plans of the former Korean Methodist Church (Colvin & Tacoma).

There’s also hope and secret plans in the works for the two schools that closed down. And I’m sure I’m forgetting some other places or newsworthy plans, but I suppose having too many things to list is a great problem.

All in all, it’s been an incredible 2+ years for Hertel Ave. It’s an exciting time to live and play in North Buffalo and I just wanted to post this to say how awesome that it is.

let the good times roll

Elephants are a Girl’s Best Friend

Yep, that’s right.  Elephants.

I feel like Dumbo would be a quality best bud. Since he’s 10 times the size of any of your other friends, you’d obviously feel safe with him by your side. He’d never have a problem lending an ear when you need to vent. And let’s be honest, you’d always feel skinny standing next to him. Solid friend.

But alas, the pachyderm I speak of today isn’t one found in the wild, but rather around your neck.


Sure diamonds are always a first choice accessory but not every outfit can be dripping with bling. Sometimes the perfect necklace is as simple as three gold elephants. Three gold elephants found right on Hertel Avenue.

Accessories complete a look. They pull together your outfit to give it that finished touch. Finishing a “look” was never really my strong suit. I never really knew the art of pairing jewelry with clothes. I’m not saying I’ve got it 100% nailed down at this point either but what I do know is where to find some unique, affordable and fashionable pieces. Those pieces that cause your friends to take notice, proclaim their love and ask what we all secretly yearn to hear, “Where did you get that?”.

The answer: Modern Nostalgia.

Maybe it’s the way Bre displays the jewelry, maybe it’s her eye for style, maybe it’s the way she pairs the perfect necklace with a button-down and cardigan or maybe it’s just that as soon as I walk in the door I fall into a trance and think, PRETTTTTTY. Whatever it is, everything that Modern Nostalgia has in stock to adorn your neck, wrist or finger should be considered a must-have.

Do your outfit a solid.  Give it some neck candy.

Modern Nos 3  Modern Nos 2