Supporters and detractors talk 201 Ellicott Street project

Downtown developers against market and housing project; Others praise project

Mike Baggerman
April 17, 2019 - 8:22 pm

Rendering of Braymiller Market at 201 Ellicott Street, scheduled to be constructed by April 2021. Photo via Ciminelli Real Estate

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – Ciminelli Real Estate defended its lack of parking at its proposed development on 201 Ellicott Street at Wednesday’s Buffalo zoning board of appeals meeting.

201 Ellicott Street is the proposed development that will feature Braymiller Market and 201 affordable apartments in a unit just to the south of the planned market at the corner of Ellicott and Clinton in Downtown Buffalo. Ciminelli Real Estate was at the Wednesday’s meeting because of variances requested.

Ciminelli spokesperson Matt Davison said the development will turn the parking lot into a “great development” for the city.

“As part of this (project), we’re also pushing the transit-oriented development component of it,” Davison told reporters prior to Wednesday’s meeting. “We’re right next to the metro. We’re right next to the NFTA bus station. We have great sidewalks and a lot of accessibility downtown. We feel like with the use of Uber, Lyft, and all of different mechanisms like Zipcar, now is the right time for a modern development like this.”

Davison noted that some nearby places will be affected with the elimination of parking but said there is parking around much of the development in the city.

“We’re feeling that we’re on the right side of this sort of modern development,” he said. “This is what you see in cities much larger and much smaller than Buffalo. This is where the future is going. The future is electric cars and ridesharing and public commuting and public transportation. Buffalo has an opportunity here for a great project. It’s going to bring a fresh-food market downtown that we sorely need. It’s going to bring affordable housing that we sorely need.”

Not everyone is on board with the idea, though. After originally proposing a development that had hundreds of parking opportunities, there is only 29 parking spots in the new development which is dedicated to Braymiller Market.

“It’s pretty sad when I sit here and look at this,” Ellicott Development Chairman Carl Paladino said. “This plan is nowhere near what that site deserves. It is by far a foolish effort to answer a couple of questions that were presented by the community.”

Paladino said the downtown market isn’t viable and said it will fall under the same fate as a nearby convenience store which Paladino owns that loses as much as $3,000 per month.

“The Adam’s ramp is full and has a waiting list at least six months old,” Paladino added. “Things are not good downtown…Downtown parking has been misused for so many years because many years back…the city decided they will take money out of municipal parking.”

Paladino also noted that All-Pro parking is owned by Paul Ciminelli and warned that he will raise parking rates.

“This stinks to high heaven,” he said.

Rocco Termini also expressed his reservations about the project on Tuesday morning with WBEN and criticized Ciminelli Real Estate for consistently settling on a smaller project than what they initially propose.

Supporters of the project such as GO bike Buffalo and nearby neighborhoods expressed their support for the project, specifically the walkability of the area.

“This is one surface lot that is not currently to the highest and best use out of a downtown that has 29 football fields of parking,” Denise Juron-Borgese, Ciminelli Vice President of Development and Planning, said. “I also think it’s important to consider that any conversation that’s truly thoughtful about mobility has to not only be limited to vehicular use and parking, but also walking, biking, mass transit, car sharing, and ridesharing, that have all been incorporated into this project.”

Juron-Borgese and Davison both expressed that Ciminelli Real Estate has the support among key area dignitaries like State Senator Tim Kennedy, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples Stokes, and NFTA Executive Director Kim Minkel.

Ciminelli Real Estate will meet with the Buffalo Planning Board next week, then proceed with the project by gaining approval through the Buffalo Common Council.

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