Tonawanda News — The duo is also considering adding an elevator and office space on the upper floors, which Burgio said haven’t been used in “50 or 60 years.” Discussions are still ongoing with the often-demanding New York State Historic Preservation Office to advance the project.
“You want to keep its historical elements but bring it into the 21st century,” Burgio said. “But it has to be economically feasible. We’re sticking to strategic ideas that will fit nicely downtown. A lot of it will be timing.”
With carpet still pinned to the walls near the front entrance, and wide open spaces on the upper floors, the building, constructed in 1891, has been occupied by many businesses over the years.
The Witkop & Holmes Furniture Store once utilized the space, and historical records show the third floor was used as a gentlemen’s club during the prohibition era when the city’s lumber business was booming.
Now, with new life slowly encroaching along the street, officials said while the blueprint to convert the building into an entity similar to the Mansion on Delaware in Buffalo has dissolved, moving toward with more restaurants and retail downtown still works into the city’s master plan.
“It’s finally at a position where it’s going to, in short order, be something that adds to Webster instead of just an empty building,” Zimmerman added.
Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.