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Uniland Team Shares 250 Delaware Plans with Neighbors

250DelMain

It was a full house last night at the Embassy Suites’ Encore Room where neighbors and others were given an overview of Uniland’s proposed 250 Delaware Avenue mixed-use project.  The 12-story, $80 million project is proposed for the site of the Delaware Court building at Delaware Avenue and W. Chippewa Street and will combine retail, hotel, and office space along with underground and structured parking.  It is being designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and HHL Architects and will occupy a nearly two-acre site fronting Delaware, W. Chippewa and S. Elmwood Avenue.

250Del1

Uniland officials stressed that the rendering released is not the final design and will change.  Throughout the meeting company representatives said that they were open to public input on suggested changes.  Architects from Diamond Schmitt were stuck at the border and missed the meeting.

Some project details:

• The existing Delaware Court building will be demolished and designers at Boston Valley Terra Cotta will be replicating the circa-1917 building’s façade for incorporation into the new building.

• A terra cotta louver system will cover floors two through five where the 120 hotel rooms are located.  A terra cotta rain screen system is proposed for a portion of the building’s west façade.

• The building will be 12-stories and 174’ from street level to rooftop.  Much of building’s façade will be fritted glass curtain wall.

• Parking for 62 cars will be located under the building.

• The first floor will be 26’ in height and include four retail spaces, three along Delaware Avenue and one along W. Chippewa Street.

• A 45’ tall, five-level parking garage will contain parking for 465 vehicles and will occupy nearly half of the site including the S. Elwmood Avenue frontage.  There is a shade structure planned for the top level of the ramp.

• The ramp design was the focus of public comments and Uniland officials acknowledge the façade of the ramp is critically important to the surrounding neighborhood and is a work in progress.  Uniland officials said they were open to changes and suggestions.  Current plans show the façade of the ramp covered by a terra cotta louver system.

• There is no retail planned on the first level of the ramp.  Officials said they would like to put retail in the ramp but suggested that the retail market didn’t support it and pointed to Uniland’s 285 Delaware Avenue project where the ground floor space took several years to fill.

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• A new access drive on the north end of the site would connect Delaware to South Elmwood Avenue (one way Delaware to Elmwood).  The main building would be built over the driveway creating a covered entrance to the hotel.

• An oval-shaped office building lobby will be located at the Delaware/Chippewa corner.

• There will be a heavily-landscaped courtyard located between the building and the parking ramp.  The hotel’s bar/café will open up to the courtyard that is expected to be the focal-point of the development.

• A two-bay loading dock with overhead door is planned for mid-block along Chippewa Street.

• A restaurant is planned on the second level overlooking the Delaware/Chippewa intersection.  The three-level space will include a lounge on the fourth floor.

• The office floors are 28,000 sq.ft. and fill the seventh thru twelfth floors.  The top floor is slightly recessed from the floors below.  An oval landscaped terrace is planned.

• Demolition and site work is expected to begin early next year and construction will take 16-18 months to complete.  The building would open in late-2015.

Uniland Vice President Michael Montante is proud of Uniland’s commitment to the city, particularly the Delaware Avenue corridor where new private sector investment is accelerating.  “Uniland has accounted for 60 percent of the investment in the Delaware Hub,” he says.

250DelDelElev

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90 comments
Seydlitz
Seydlitz

Meh, but we'll take it, can't wait to see the revised renderings so we'll know what we're actually going to get.

HWA
HWA

@Seydlitz Can we get an accurate rendering at least? The hotel next door is 6-7 stories and is the same height in this rendering as a 12 story building!

5to81allday
5to81allday

"Build the parking ramp skinier!"

"encorporate the parking into the building to make it taller!"

"Add more floors!"

"Build the parking underground!"

Yes - it all sounds nice, but our fantasy's would cost developers millions more and could possibly not make this project financially feasible.

BuffaloLMT
BuffaloLMT

Maybe this is an option for the Lexington CoOp to locate here?

buffalorr
buffalorr

If I had the luxury of being able to tell the developers what to do, I'd say put a Trader Joes on the Elmwood side of the building, like the one that's opening up on NF Blvd. TJ's is a great alternative for groceries and other items who's brand is very popular in S. California. I think this area of the city could use alternatives to what's there now as far as food shopping. There are already enough Rite Aids and Mini Marts serving the city.

cutredtape
cutredtape

My concern is increased traffic in the neighborhood.  It's not just 9-5 cars.  A building of this size needs infrastructure.  For example, since the new federal building on Huron, a noisy garbage truck & its dumpster-slamming, wakes us every morning precisely at 5:30 AM.  That's a big quality of life issue for a city dweller.

AllentownChris
AllentownChris

@cutredtape I think increased traffic in the neighborhood is desirable - this is downtown Buffalo! My worry is that the parking garage facing South Elmwood will have a deadening effect.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

@cutredtape 

I agree with you: that's a real issue. We shouldn't be so dismissive.

If I lived on Cary, or Rabin, I'd be concerned about dumpsters at 5:30 every morning. We all should be more sensitive to noise issues for downtown residents if what we desire are more downtown residents. And noise is a somewhat solvable issue. 

Every single day on this site, bloggers advocate for more residents downtown. They yearn for the day we'll count ourselves amongst 'real' cities, with vibrancy begot by full time residents reveling in downtown's energy.

But quality of life issues matter. A lot. Solving some of them needn't cause grief for anyone else. Other housing options here are too plentiful, too convenient and too cheap to persuade many potential residents to choose the downtown core over other alternatives. Why put up with the noise when a few blocks away you can sleep in peace and quiet, and have a little back yard space to boot?

It behooves us to pay heed to what makes downtown nice for residents.

That said, a parking garage is a pretty quiet neighbor.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

@lafayette1985 

no one outside a commercial district has the garbage picked up that early every single day. Once a week is one thing. Daily is another. I see no good reason pickup couldn't be restricted to an hour later.

As to Acropolis, I didn't complain, but I sure would have if I lived in the neighborhood. Elmwood is not an entertainment district. It's an entertainment district, and a retail district, and a residential district. All of those are important, residents as much as anyone. If all the residents moved out, the businesses would die quickly. If all the businesses moved out, the residential neighborhood would take a hit, but it would not die.

I'm sorry, but if a business cannot contain its own noise, it should not simply be a matter of tough luck for the neighbors. Noise pollution is pollution. That's why there have been ordinances on the books for ages regarding 'disturbing the peace'. Peace and quiet have been seen as a right enforceable by law. There is reason for that.

Noise might not strike you as a detriment.

At one time, smog and soot were seen as the inevitable byproducts of modernity. The factory down the street pollutes your air? Big deal! It's the price you pay. Move out to the country, why don't you? That's he attitude many had when it came to air pollution by the mid 20th century. But isn't the air nicer now? 

A generally quieter environment is likewise preferable to many, if not most. And residents do have the right to expectations of 'quiet enjoyment' (a real estate lease term; you'll find it in every lease, residential and commercial. Interesting that it's always phrased that way: the tenant has the right to 'quiet enjoyment' of the premises. Meaning the tenant is free to enjoy the place without being disturbed by the landlord's interference, but it's interesting that it is described as 'quiet').

Anyway, in the battle betwixt Acropolis vs. residents, I am solidly behind the residents. Acropolis wants to entertain? Great. But keep noise to discreet levels after certain hours. They're not entertaining in a vacuum. The vitality of the strip is enabled primarily by residents. It is the density of and the wealth of the residents surrounding Elmwood which enables businesses like Acropolis to operate in the physically safe and economically viable environment they enjoy. That environment is not a desert. It's not empty wilderness past the storefronts on the street. Without all those people living right there, Acropolis and others couldn't survive.

So if Acropolis cannot contain its noise, then it has to restrict it to hours which don't interfere with the other neighbors sharing the same physical environment. Entertaining or not, your neighbor doesn't have the right to throw parties every night which stop you and your other neighbors from sleeping. If he did, you'd eventually call the cops. This is the same thing. The fact that one entity (Acropolis) is a business doesn't trump the rights of the guy living next door.


BuffaloLMT
BuffaloLMT

Its downtown. We want increased traffic.

whateverr
whateverr

@biniszkiewicz

"But keep noise to discreet levels after certain hours."

1. The Acroplois-specific rules the Common Council attempted to impose (before being overturned in State Supreme Court which should've been very embarrassing to the Council) seemed to have little to do with noise levels.  For instance, mandating that a bar can't be on its 2nd floor, etc.

2. There was already a noise ordinance in City Law with a max # of decibels at some distance.  That should've been the enforcement mechanism, it seems to me.  Incompetence on city govt's part if that law isn't adequate &/or the city passed that law's wording without also having equipment & training to implement it.

brownteeth
brownteeth

@lafayette1985 Actually, Iiving across from Hutch Tech on Whitney, they pick up the trash nearly every day as early as 4AM.  It's very loud.  I dealt with it because my house just happened to be that close to the switch between commercial and residential.  The solution is probably to have it picked up at 6 PM so that the parking lot is empty but not to disrupt the neighborhood at such an early hour.

dtgblo
dtgblo

@lafayette1985 It's not the sound of a garbage truck.  You have obviously never lived near someplace that pays for dumpster service.  It is the loud crashing, slamming of the dumpster, first onto the truck a couple of times to empty it, then onto the ground as they replace it.  It far exceeds the noise of your weekly garbage truck.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

@lafayette1985 

I like that idea. A drug store might be a tough sell. They all want drive-thru lanes these days. But some kind of convenience store would make some sense here and you're right: it would bring some life to the Elmwood side of the site. Sounds viable to me.

5to81allday
5to81allday

@lafayette1985 my building in NYC has a Drug store on the ground floor and its the best thing ever.  Left your tooth brush on vacation? you can grab one real quick.  Looking for a late night snake - no problem.  Its a big reason why i havent moved in 5 years

1stWard
1stWard

@lafayette1985 

I like the idea of a rite aid or a walgreens 0r market on the Elmwood side. I think it retail that would compliment the West Village area nicely and make the residential side (between Elmwood and Niagara) much more livable. Plus its a nice place for Hutch Tech students to drop in for a snack.

I think your idea is brilliant and your the first one to have mentioned it.

(on a side note...no one wants a 1 story rite aid or walgreens downtown and you know if left to their own devices that's what they would build. Better to give them a home and prevent a future demolition)

DowntownRising
DowntownRising

ATTENTION: If in fact a global company is going to be headquartered in this building, along with a big-time hotel, where is it all of you folks who are bashing the parking garage would like people to park? I hate to break it to you, but not everyone lives in the coffee-shop dwelling confines of the Elmwood Village, making this building accessible by big-handle-bar bike. I say this half-joking, of course, but you have to be realistic. And again -- it is replacing a SURFACE LOT that formerly harbored a junky-filled GAS STATION. 

This site is infuriating. I don't know why I even bother checking the comment section. 

300miles
300miles

@DowntownRising   You're pushing a lame strawman argument ..since nobody is actually saying "There should be no garage at all".    Just because it needs a garage doesn't mean the design should obliterate sidewalk activity in order to have it.   There are better ways to design them.  They're clearly just not even trying.  

You might be tired of the "coffee shop crowd", but I'm tired of all the people that practically have an orgasm over every shiny rendering instead of actually looking at the details. 

DowntownRising
DowntownRising

@300miles Yeah - duly noted, but again, be realistic. The idea of "throwing a drug store" to appease you and the slue of perpetually negative armchair quarterbacks is ridiculous. RIP, Valero; I guess you were more than a piece of filth gas station. 

300miles
300miles

@DowntownRising @300miles     I'm not one to say  "They should have a drug store"  or  "they should have a bar"   or   "They should have a barber shop".    This isn't Sim City, and I think the market will drive what business works best there.   But the opportunity for any of those things is gone forever if the streetfront is taken up with garage doors and parking garages.  They shouldn't kill all prospects of a thriving Chippewa / Delaware corner by cutting into the sidewalk with driveways and loading docks.  They ignored the pedestrian factor and it shows in their design.

At a minimum, they could design the garage in a way that shop fronts could be added later.  Although that was done once with one of the other downtown garages, and a decade later there has been no attempt to build out that space... so I hesitate to even suggest it. 

DowntownRising
DowntownRising

@300miles Right on. I can appreciate what you are saying. I only wish more people realized that life is not Sim City. Oh well. Cheers.   

Khmylevs_Heroes
Khmylevs_Heroes

What happened to this plan from Uniland Vice President Michael Montante?

"I think the exterior of the building, although it needs some refurbishment, is a beautiful building," Montante said. "You can see the detail that is in the building. Our plan is to restore that."

That facade would also be maintained and incorporated into any future development on the site, "whether it is keeping the existing building or building a new building," he added.

Via:  http://buffaloah.com/a/del/232/index.html 

BuildBuffalo
BuildBuffalo

Their rendering is so much better than Delaware ourt.....