The former Occidental Chemical Building has a new tenant Pete Bennett -promoter of the Beatles,
the Rolling Stones and Elvis -is opening up shop at 240 Rainbow Blvd But his newest
project isn't a singer; it's Niagara Falls, N.Y.
A month ago, Buffalo developer Frank Parlato and G. Steven Pigeon, a lawyer and a
former Erie County Democratic chairman, bought the office building and the site of the
proposed underground AquaFalls aquarium, a 40 foot-deep pit in front of the building and
an eyesore that has plagued downtown for five years.
Bennett visited Parlato here in June and was surprised at the lack of entertainment on
the U.s. side, he said. and he decided to rent office space space once the building was sold
A resident of Connecticut, Bennett envisions a restaurant, with dancing and entertainment, on the roof of the office building.
He also plans to hire employees to staff office and conduct talent searches in the area.
They need someone~ to come in and perk them up," he SaId of his interest in the city.
"It's an area with beautiful parks, but to go into town, everything is empty. It's very hard to
go out to eat at night here."
A native of the Bronx, he also is negotiating with Lewiston businessman Smokin' Joe
Anderson, who owns the Wintergarden just down the street from the office building.
The Wintergarden is set to host its first concert Friday when three Canadian rock
bands will perform there, and Bennett would like to bring some of his acts to the venue
once the acoustics and an extensive sound system are finished this spring, he said
In turn, Anderson has a hand in some of the entertainment plans for 240 Rainbow
Blvd, Parlato said "this building has never been properly, used," Parlato said "I want to partner with
the local community so we can all get wealthy from the 17 million visitors" who visit NIagara
Falls during the tourist season; Parlato's plans include a 24.-hour welcome center on the bottom
floor, meeting space for local businesses on the top floor with a view of the falls as a backdrop,
and retail space on the first two floors, all open by the start of this year's tourist season.
The future of the hole will be decided in the next week, he said The three options are:
.fill it in; leave it, but put a roof over it and use it as parking and retail space; or turn it into
an open-air Rockefeller Center-type square with a display patterned after the falls or the
NIagara River, he said.
e-moil: gnorheim@ bvffnews.oom