It’s springtime for Main Street. Like the weather, it’s been a bit uneven sometimes, but there have been periods of warmth and glorious sunshine in the development of the Town of Clarence’s signature commercial thoroughfare. Sure there remain obstacles to overcome (continued public investment in sewers and infrastructure can only be put off for so long), but there are already several undeniably positive positive projects underway and eyeing completion this summer.
Bar-Bill Tavern 8326 Main Street
Clark Crook, owner of the famous Bar-Bill Tavern in East Aurora, is a part of this change. This summer, when the newest Bar-Bill location opens at the site of the former Old Red Mill (8326 Main Street), Harris Hill will see new life restored to a landmark building. Crook sees the opportunity to create something new in a place where so many people already had fond memories of special moments in their lives.
Main Center of Clarence 9560 Main Street
The largest and most widely anticipated project on Main Street, Main Center of Clarence (9560 Main Street) is expected to open its doors this summer. With 24 luxury living spaces and over 17,000 square feet of boutique retail space, this project is the first of two by Clarence developer Paul Stephen of Stephen Development (9735 Main Street) to make this list. Stephen, renewing his commitment to “Changing the Face of Main Street,” has re-used the site of the abandoned Fountain Court Motel in building this new mixed-use anchor property across from the Clarence High School. Once completed, Main Center will join nearby Willow Square in turning Central Main Street into an up-and-coming retail district.
Innovative Concepts In Entertainment 10075 Main Street
One of the best-kept secrets in Clarence is arcade manufacturer Innovative Concepts In Entertainment – or ICE for short – creator of the iconic Super Chexx Bubble Hockey game. From its 10123 Main Street Clarence location, ICE has grown to become the nation’s largest arcade manufacturer, employing over 275 workers at its Main Street location.
A string of successful arcade hits has left the company bursting at the seams, and Stephen Development has partnered with Kulback’s Construction to give the company the facilities it needs to keep those jobs in Clarence for years to come. ICE plans a July opening of its Light Manufacturing and Distribution Facility at 10075 Main Street, adjacent to its existing facilities.
It’s worth noting that last year’s economic study of the Vision: Main Street plan, commissioned by the Clarence Industrial Development Agency and performed by consultant Camoin Associates, specifically identified Central Main Street as an area most ripe for strategic development and identified exactly this type of light manufacturing use as a key component in Main Street revitalization. A copy of the study can be found here.
Humbert House 10622 Main Street
It may not look like much at the moment, but the Humbert House (10622 Main Street) has a rich history and a bright future. The building, named after a prominent Clarence family who once operated a pharmacy from that location, is the latest project from developers David and Kathy DeRose, whose loving restoration of the Brickhall in the the Hollow (10750 Main Street) has won them some serious credibility. The pair are teaming up with Russell Salvatore Jr. and Salvatore Hospitality for a bar and cafe bearing the Humbert House name. The project hopes to be open by the end of the year.
There’s still more work to be done, of course. But it’s exciting to see the re-birth of the Clarence Main Street continue in such a positive way. With these four projects underway – and many others on the horizon – it looks like 2019 is bringing another step forward for Main Street in Clarence.