Slowly but surely, the proposed closure and relocation of the Super Flea market in Cheektowaga, a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y., is taking baby steps forward. According to a report in the Buffalo News, the proposal has gone through one round of public comments, and will see another later this month.
The goal of the developers of the site, Benderson Development, is to close the flea market and use the spot for a big-box retail store. That would require rezoning the site from “light manufacturing” to “general commercial.” The Cheektowaga Town Board is holding a public hearing on the zoning change at 6:45 p.m. on June 20.
The flea market would be relocated by the developer under a new name, the Buffalo News reports:
“Benderson is looking to create an upscale farmers’ market at the nearly vacant Garden Village Plaza, on the southeast corner of French and Union roads. To be renamed Garden Village Plaza Market Place, the new site would operate with limits on what types of items may be sold, town officials said. Tenants also would be subject to terms of a tenant handbook, which the town would have some say in crafting.”
One vendor who currently sells at the Super Flea flea market says that he can see some advantages in the move. “Obviously I don’t want to lose my outlet for making sales, but the building over there leaves a lot to be desired. The roof especially is in horrible condition,” says Andrew Osborne, the owner of Vapor Trail E-Cigarettes. “If they’re going to turn this into a big box or whatever, I would not be opposed to that if I found out that they intend to move the flea market to somewhere different.”
The proposed new site seems like a good one to Osborne. “I know exactly where that Garden Village Plaza is. I think that’s an excellent location. I think it would do a great service to this community by having it be a little more upscale. And you don’t have to segregate people based on what they are trying to sell to do that.”
He realizes that his own product line could conceivably be among those excluded. “I may fall into that category myself, because we sell electronic cigarettes, so it’s very possible that our products could be one of the things that they say ‘No, we don’t want anything to do with that,’ and we would be out.” However, Osborne hopes to make a strong case to the contrary. “Actually, we’re selling something that’s promoting a healthier lifestyle,” he says.
Referring to the deterioration of the building at the Super Flea and rumors of sellers of counterfeit goods there, Osborne also hopes to find out more about the plans for the swap meet — especially since hard news has been difficult to get, he says. “I’ve been trying to get some information, but no one seems to know anything.”
Photo credit, with thanks: The My Wife Takes Me Places blog