Mayor Byron W. Brown delivered his 2015 State of the City Address at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center yesterday. In the mix of announcements and credit-taking, Brown set a goal of attracting a grocery store downtown. Specifically, the City is targeting a 2.5 acre, City-owned parking lot at 201 Ellicott Street for what is envisioned as a mixed-use project anchored by a grocery store. An RFP for the site is expected to be released soon.
The parking lot is located between the central library and NFTA’s Metropolitan Transportation Center and across from the Hotel Lafayette and Historic Warehouse Lofts. It has been the site of a number of proposals in recent years. In 1990, Cleveland-based North Coast Holding Corp. wanted to build a six-story office and parking complex on the property (rendering). Ellicott Center Plaza had a $27.6 million price tag but never gained traction. In 2005, Rocco Termini proposed a boutique hotel and apartments for the property. The parking lot was also envisioned as a key location to construct facilities for Erie Community College if it were to consolidate downtown.
WGRZ has some good and bad news:
“We are talking about a major grocery store. We have been in communication with some of the major chains and we feel with the growth of residential people downtown that now is the time to do this,” says Mayor Brown.
Those dreaming of a downtown Wegmans are not going to like this however. Wegmans is already saying it is not interested.
Wegmans opened a store in Chestnut Hill just outside of Boston last year that is half the size of most of its stores, but Wegmans told us Friday, “While we are incredibly excited about the growth happening in the city of Buffalo, we have no plans to open a downtown location of Wegmans.”