October 23rd, 2014
By Amy Wallace
KENMORE — The Village Board put some of the finishing touches on a planned redevelopment of the former school building at 1 Delaware Road at its meeting Tuesday.
The board unanimously approved a certificate of appropriateness for the property that was purchased last year by developer Carl Paladino’s Ellicott Development Co., which was the former site of the Heritage Center and current location of Creative Child Daycare Center.
The building, the former George Washington Elementary School, was built in 1911 and is located at the intersection of Delaware Road and Delaware Avenue in the Village of Kenmore, adjacent to the village gazebo.
“The building was once designated with historical status in the ‘70s,” Mayor Patrick Mang said, explaining that it was only a local designation. “But that status was taken away when previous work was done on the building.”
According to Kenmore Clerk-Treasurer Kathleen Johnson, the resolution the board approved Tuesday means that a review had been done and no adverse effects were found to occur when the redevelopment moves forward.
August 19th, 2014
Via The Buffalo News
By Mark Sommer
A spot where Elmwood Village residents pump gasoline and buy groceries could be transformed by a developer into a place for dining, shopping and upscale living.
Plans were presented to the public Monday night for a four-story, L-shaped building with 21 high-end apartments, a locally operated restaurant and a yet to be specified retailer at Elmwood and West Delavan avenues. Ellicott Development Co. presented the information at a public meeting in the Buffalo History Museum.
The building at 905 Elmwood would replace the Elm-wood-Delavan Food Mart, which also sells gasoline. The proposed 44,000-square-foot building would cost between $8 million and $9 million, and have a modern look dominated by charcoal brick, glass and wood, said Thomas M. Fox, Ellicott’s director of development.
William A. Paladino, the company’s CEO, said the exterior is intended to tie into and enhance the surrounding area.
“I live in the neighborhood, and I think this is an opportunity to clean up a corner that has been an eyesore for a long period of time,” Paladino said. “We think the design of the building, including elements and materials, fits in with the design of the surrounding properties and neighborhood. We have vertically separated the building to look like different buildings.”
Citing the improvement that the development would bring, Fox said, “It’s a hole along Elmwood Avenue, and we want to refresh it and bring something new, bring something with a lot of activity. That will just only feed along Elmwood Avenue with the other businesses and other activity that’s going on.”
The building’s second, third and fourth floors would include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The first floor would consist of 5,000 square feet of restaurant space and 1,500 square feet of retail space.
Parking – about 27 spaces – would be behind the building and also under a portion of the building along West Delavan.
The restaurant, named Gianni’s, would be operated by Henry C. Gorino, former owner of Oliver’s, and Charles F. Mauro, operator of suburban restaurants that include Rocco’s Wood-Fired Pizza in Clarence and 800 Maple in Amherst.
“It will be like a Rocco-themed restaurant,” Paladino said.
Developers will submit an application to the Buffalo Planning Board later this week and present their plans at the Sept. 6 meeting. If they receive approval, they hope to break ground by the end of the year and have the project completed by the end of 2015 or early 2016, Fox said.
Cleaning up the site presents environmental challenges. “We have a brownfield area to clean up. There are a lot of environmental investigations to do, and it’s not yet a done deal.” Paladino said, although he remains confident enough to present the development proposal to the public.
During the public comment portion of Monday’s presentation, some community members expressed concern about the limited amount of parking at the site and potential noise from a large restaurant.
Deborah Williams took issue with the proposed building’s size. “The building is massive,” she said. “Maybe it just looks so big with it so dark and gray that it looks just like a massive, gray box. … It’s going to substantially change the character of the neighborhood.”
Others said any development would be an improvement.
“Well, the renderings look massively better than what’s there,” David Cress said.
Two owners of businesses across the street from the site offered support for the project.
“I think I’m going to be looking forward to looking at this building,” said David Drost, owner of Evolation Yoga.
Said Robert Nehin, who owns BikeorBar, “Elmwood Avenue connects the city, the downtown and the suburbs. It is the byway of commerce in the city. This property … has been a site of drug sales, panhandling. It has been the dregs of the community, and we need to be able to bring commerce and money so people can survive in a city.”
August 19th, 2014
Via Buffalo Rising
Ellicott Development and Local Boys Restaurant Group discussed their plans to replace the Elmwood-Delavan Food Mart with a four-story mixed-use building this evening. The public workshop on the project was sponsored by the Elmwood Village Association and Delaware District Council Member Michael LoCurto. The Food Mart is located at the southeast corner of Elmwood and Delavan avenues.
The ‘L’ shaped building will bring a dose of modern architecture to Elmwood. It will step down to three levels at the south end of the building along Elmwood and the east end of the building along Delavan.
Plans call for a restaurant operated by Henry Gorino, retail space, and 21 apartments. An enclosed patio will be located on the second floor and some apartments will have deck or patio space. Parking will be located behind the building and accessed from Delavan Avenue. Kideney Architects is designing the project.
The City Planning Board must sign-off on the plans and the development team will need to remediate the gas station site before starting construction.
It will be the second gas station site to be redeveloped along Elmwood. Uniland Development removed the Valero at S. Elmwood and W. Chippewa for its 250 Delaware Avenue project.
Elmwood has seen a number of infill projects in recent years including:
- 305 W. Utica – Two, nine-unit apartment buildings. Paul Johnson, Michael Ferdman and Karl Frizlen. Completed: 2011
- 448 Elmwood – Three-story mixed use including retail space plus 12 apartments. The Krog Corp., Michael Ferdman and Karl Frizlen. Completed: 2011
- 504 Elmwood – Four-level mixed-use building including retail space and eight apartments. Paul Johnson, Michael Ferdman and Karl Frizlen. Completed: 2006
- 766 Elmwood – Three-story infill building with retail space and 24 apartments. Benchmark Group. Underway.
- 1095-1121 Elmwood – Eight-story building combing retail, a boutique hotel with 125 rooms, enclosed parking for 160 cars, and 20 upper-floor condominiums. Chason Infinity. Planned.
August 13th, 2014
Via Buffalo Business First
By James Fink
Fort Erie Race Track may eventually be surrounded by a hospitality and tourism-themed series of developments.
Buffalo developer Carl Paladino hinted as much during a Tuesday briefing that came just hours after he and his investment partners — local business leaders Joel Castle and Joseph Mosey — completed their deal to acquire 338 acres of land just off Queen Elizabeth Way. The land includes the 117-year-old track.
“I like the fact that they are building on what we already have here,” said Fort Erie Mayor Douglas Martin. “They and their plans are giving life back to this grand old lady. To me, this is the beginning of a new era for the track and for Fort Erie.”
While Paladino said development plans are preliminary, he expects whatever is constructed on the land will be hospitality and tourism-based in nature. That would dovetail off the race track and the $400 million Canadian Motorsport Speedway that’s expected to open within the next three years.
Paladino said that more definitive plans will likely be unveiled this fall, if not sooner.
“This isn’t something that’s just sitting there waiting for something else to happen,” Paladino said.
When pressed, Paladino thinks the entire project could be completed within “the next five or six years.”
The development should not only create jobs in Fort Erie, Paladino said he also hopes it is the catalyst for other private sector-fueled projects.
Fort Erie leaders want the track to go back to a 74-date schedule of live races, up from the 37 authorized for this year. They are also pushing leaders in Queen’s Park to allow the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to bring back slot machines to the track. Fort Erie lost its slot machine operations when OLGC removed them more than two years ago.
“All we are asking for is a level playing field,” said James Thibert, Fort Erie’s economic development chief. “Queen’s Park needs to understand that this track is so much more important to our community than what Woodbine (Track) means to Toronto. We view the track as an anchor for future development projects.”
The Paladino-led development consortium spent the past three years working on the sale agreement with the property’s immediate past owner, Israeli-based Nordic Gaming Corp., and also with Fort Erie officials.
While Paladino said he was open to selling off parcels to other developers, his focus is on the hospitality/tourism project.
“We’re developers,” he said. “We’re not investors. We hit the ground running every morning. People don’t understand just how important the Southern Canadian peninsula is to our city.”