BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s been just over a year since a fire ripped through the West Side Bazaar — causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. Since then, construction on the new Bazaar has been full steam ahead.

“It was a blank pallet,” said Carolynn Welch, executive director of Westminster Economic Development Initiative. “So, we know that we can tune this space into exactly what we want it to be. It just required a little bit of creativity to get there. But, the bones of this space are absolutely amazing.”

What was once a dark, damp and empty space is now flooded with color and light.

Plans for the new West Side Bazaar were in the works for years.

That was even before the devastating fire that tore through the WEDI’s Grant Street facility.

“It’s been a very tough few years for WEDI between the pandemic and the fire and the break-in, said Welch. “And for this to have all come together is mind-blowing — it just feels so amazing.”

Come month’s end, eight new business owners will be cooking in these state-of-the-art kitchens.

They’ll be serving up the international food, the Bazaar is known for.

Several retail startups will also call the space home.

“I think for the people that are starting their business, entrepreneurs — it’s hope,” added Welch. “And it’s a new beginning and it’s a start of what they’ve been dreaming of and it’s an opportunity and an ability to do that. And I think for a lot of our business owners and entrepreneurs that hope feels out of their range very frequently and now, it’s here.”

The facility blends its industrial history with colorful new tile and lighting.

There’s space for more than 80 seats to sit down and eat. The community can also take advantage of meeting spaces, a test kitchen and counseling services on the second floor.

“My heart is just pounding,” said Erin St. John Kelly, director of external relations, WEDI. “It’s so exciting. And everyone who works here is excited.”

The brand new West Side Bazaar will open up shop on October 31 at 11 a.m.

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Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.