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Big Reveal: Ciminelli’s Elmwood/Bidwell Redevelopment Plan

Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation unveiled plans for a $40 million mixed-use development project for the area of Bidwell Parkway, Elmwood and Potomac Avenues. The two-building project has been introduced under the name Arbor + Reverie and will contain retail space, condos, apartments, and both structured and underground parking.

“We are extremely excited to introduce our proposed plans for Arbor + Reverie to both Elmwood Village residents and the entire WNY community,” said Amber Holycross, senior development manager, Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation. “Throughout our planning process, we’ve made it a point to undertake an extensive, year-long community outreach effort, in order to solicit the type of constructive feedback that has really helped to shape, inform, and produce an appropriate and inspiring overall design.”

elmwood3

Ciminelli completed the purchase of eleven property parcels from long-time owners Don and Lori Leone in September. Most recently, the company began restoration work on 587 Potomac Avenue, which will be incorporated into Arbor + Reverie. “The project is intended to fit into the context of the surrounding streetscape and urban setting by reflecting the vitality and street energy of Elmwood Avenue combined with a beautiful Bidwell Parkway setting,” said Holycross. “Once it’s built, we are confident it will feel like it’s always been there.”

The proposed Arbor + Reverie development will consist of two buildings, linked together by pedestrian walkways.

Arbor will be located along Bidwell Parkway (rendering above), or the southern portion of the site. Plans for Arbor include rehabilitating 587 Potomac Avenue, locally known as the former Sunday Skateshop, and incorporating the facades of the current 1920 storefront additions. The Arbor building will include 6,000 sq.ft. of retail space, 33 apartments/for-sale condominiums priced in the $400,000 to $600,000 range, and 13 parking spaces.

Reverie will be located along Elmwood Avenue on the northern block of the site (rendering below). The building will include 6,000 sq.ft. of retail space, 53 apartment units, and 137 parking spaces. Also along this block is the dilapidated structure at 584 Potomac Avenue, purchased by Ciminelli, will be taken down and replaced with a public garden and playground area. 588 Potomac will be preserved with minor improvements, and 721 Ashland Avenue will be demolished and rebuilt for repurposing as one-bedroom apartment units.

elmwood1

The residential spaces at Arbor + Reverie will be a mix of rental units and for-sale condominiums. Unit sizes will range from 668 to 1,678 sq.ft. An anticipated 97 residential units and eight retail suites will be included in the project. Approximately 150 parking spaces will be built into Arbor + Reverie, with one third of those spaces being allocated for non-resident parking.

“Having vested a great deal of time over the last year meeting with Elmwood Village residents and stakeholders, we’ve definitely been able to better understand the pulse of the neighborhood,” remarked Holycross. “Our team has made it a priority to hear from the Elmwood Village Association, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the Delaware South Block Club, and other local homeowners, groups and individuals. And we’ve spent time looking into the history of the Village to help inform our plans for the project. We are working with the Buffalo Arts Commission to explore the possibility of bringing back a notable Elmwood Avenue art piece – the tango dancers.”

elmwood4

Construction is expected to begin in the Spring of 2017 and will take place in two phases. In phase one, work will begin on the Elmwood block, at the Reverie site, including the parcels located on the northern Potomac parcel and on Ashland. Phase one will take approximately 18- 24 months to complete. Phase two will include all work on the southern block, at the Arbor site, and is expected to be complete in 2020.

Ciminelli has been working closely with HHL Architects to design the buildings in a way that respects the originality and charm of the Elmwood Village, while bringing new life experiences to the project. The buildings will be comprised of traditional materials, such as brick and stone, in order to ensure that the structures evoke the context of the neighborhood.elmwood2

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Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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  • Johnny99

    I call the top floor corner condo looking onto Bidwell.

  • OldFirstWard

    “Ciminelli has been working closely with HHL Architects to design the buildings in a way that respects the originality and charm of the Elmwood Village”

    That statement is an insult to any intelligent person reading this article.This project is so bad for Elmwood Village I’m having trouble putting it into words. These developers are destroying the character and charm of Elmwood Village right before our eyes. Five stories? Even with those stupid setbacks that are supposed to convince people that it is of lesser height. Why would any resident allow this to proceed without a fight.

    Put this on Niagara St., Main St. or maybe even Hertel, but the Elmwood Village is so unique and charming and should never be subject to this kind of pretentious development. This architecture is sterile. These mercenary developers are nothing more than architectural terrorists. They want to destroy a very successful vibe and way of life that has existed on Elmwood for decades. Stop this now.

    • S Mills

      Unique and charming aren’t the first words that come to mind to describe Elmwood to me. Dirty, dull, stagnant, are however.

      Great project for Elmwood, hope it makes it.

      • MrGreenJeans

        Elmwood is not dirty, not dull and not stagnant. It’s not a good place for trolls, either.

        • S Mills

          I suppose that anyone who disagrees with your opinion must be a troll, eh?

          Elmwood is dirty. Walk around, look around. There’s litter everywhere, crumbling buildings, chipping paint off everything, large stretches of it are unappealing. For the “premier” district in Buffalo, it’s gross.

          It’s dull and stagnant. Have you been anywhere in this world? People hold up Elmwood and love to cite that top-10 or whatever neighborhood claim. That’s laughable. It’s a couple OK blocks from Bidwell to Breck-ish. It’s stagnant. It’s boring. It’s dull. A few decent spots surrounded by hair salons, random knickknack gift shops, and other random businesses that will be gone by this time next year. It’s not an overly exciting commercial district.

          • Not to mention that every time I drive through it, I feel like I’m at the zoo with people unpredictably jaywalking across the street. But it’s something I’ve gotten accustomed to.

          • Matt Marcinkiewicz

            you have to admit, that feature at least makes it less dull

    • I do think it would fit in with the aforementioned neighborhoods…but with alterations I think it could fit here too.

  • Mr. B

    Green roofing!

    .

  • 300miles

    Setting aside obvious concerns around demolitions and building height, it seems like the most prominent corner of the project at Bidwell and Elmwood gets the worst design features. I would think that parkway corner, more than any other part of this project, should have had more thought put into its aesthetics.

    • LongGoneeee

      Don’t have issue with the demolitions or height but agree 100% on your comment about the Bidwell corner. It’s tacky and feels as if they designed the space from the inside out.
      Beyond materials, the jagged edges feel displaced on a parkway. Would have been interesting if they used the curve rather than fight it. Brick or stone appears to be too much to ask.

      • Let Buffalo Rise

        if you were at the presentation last night, you would have heard the architect speak to the materials and how they are using materials that are native to the Elmwood village, they even had samples of all the materials there for us to see. I personally think its a great project. Replacing old dilapidated buildings with new is not always a bad thing. Cities are meant to evolve not stand in time, rot, and never improve. This is the typical NIMBY crowd that starts suggesting other areas of the city to do it. Fact of the matter is Elmwood is desirable and there is a lack of housing.

        • 300miles

          I was at the meeting. I don’t doubt that they may be using “local materials” (whatever that really means), but that doesn’t change the fact that the Bidwell corner design looks random and disjointed. That corner should be the classiest view of the building since it’s on an Olmsted Parkway and a major intersection of Elmwood. I’m not against this project, I just think a prominent corner should have a more thoughtful design.

          • nesciand

            100% agree about the corner, sort of displaces the residents from the street.

          • Wise Profit

            The physical space that is the corner sidewalk remains untouched except for the addition of some trees so I don’t know what is “displacing” anyone. Can you explain further?

          • nesciand

            Maybe I’m looking at the rendering wrong but it looks like the apartments are significantly set back from the storefront. Which from the article sounds like it is on purpose to make the height look less out of place. I’m no urban design expert but from what I have read apparently what makes pedestrians more comfortable walking down a street with taller buildings (2 or more stories) that are built to street is it gives them a defined sense of well, shelter for lack of a better term. Having the apartments on the 3rd 4th and 5th floors to me kinda takes away from that.

          • Bringing back Buffalo

            Lets see some examples of what you think would look better.

          • LongGoneeee
          • Let Buffalo Rise

            AHHHH!!! Its 4 floors…the horror!!!!

            So you like the mundane status quo building from the early 20th century. Got it, lets build buffalo so everything looks the same. If you want that, go live in East Aurora.

          • Wise Profit

            “random” “disjointed” “classiest” and “thoughtful”
            Aren’t all these things in the eye of the beholder? Its hard to constantly entertain the ideas of the public when there statements have no substance.

          • 300miles

            Of course it is. Because some people have taste and some people don’t. 🙂
            This corner is on an Olmsted Parkway on a street like Bidwell that, in my opinion, calls for a design that’s less chaotic. There are other locations, even a block away where it would be less of an issue. Yes those terms are subjective, but I’m pretty sure an Architect would have a very good idea what that would look like. You say it’s hard to entertain the ideas of the public, but that’s supposed to be why they have those presentations and meetings in the first place… to get public feedback and opinions.

          • Wise Profit

            Its hard to entertain because its your opinion. And this could even go for architects. One might come in and agree with you and another, like this one, might come in and say that Elmwood is self-proclaimed unique place and so maybe a building with some unique features would fit in well.

      • Wise Profit

        Well what is currently there now must be displaced then too because its a jagged edge, 1-story building with painted over limited brick and mostly glass front.

  • Anthony Laviano

    Is this where cafe Aroma is? What happens to those businesses?

    • townline

      No. Opposite corner. Hero Burger.

      • Anthony Laviano

        thank you

  • MrGreenJeans

    Elmwood owners and residents, with the exception of the cynical sell-outs who took cash instead of honor, kept this area decent when much of Buffalo fell into slumhood & most of its commercial strips became wasteland. Now, suburban “developers” see an opportunity to cash-in without risk, so here they come with proposals to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    The way to preserve Elmwood is TO PRESERVE ELMWOOD, not to tear it down block by block. These parasites must be stopped, or our neighborhood will become an insufferably ugly place.

    • eagercolin

      In other words, if someone wants to live in the EV, they should have to pay you, not Ciminelli.

    • rubagreta

      Without risk? You think building this project is easy? And what if just as it comes to market we have another 2008-style crash?

      No, having a lemonade stand in front of your house is without risk, which I am guessing might be the extent of your attempt at capitalism.

  • townline

    I think the design could use a little more of a delicate hand – especially on the Bidwell corner, to allow the new materials to fade further in the background and perhaps extend the historic facades around that corner. And on the north parcel, the massing would be benefitted if the step back occurred a floor lower and kept a 1:1 ratio.

    But by and large, this is a positive effort to provide some needed density in this area. Anyone familiar with the EV housing market should be aware that there is a complete dearth of product available. It is skyrocketing costs for anyone who would like to live in the area. While this project (and Chason’s down the street) may not be providing more affordable housing options, it should help relieve pressure at the top of the market that is driving the rest of EV’s housing to ridiculous prices that is keeping out young families and other diversity.

    • OldFirstWard

      “While this project (and Chason’s down the street) may not be providing more affordable housing options, it should help relieve pressure at the top of the market that is driving the rest of EV’s housing to ridiculous prices that is keeping out young families and other diversity.”

      What a lame analysis. Did you read that in your tea cup this morning. Has it ever occurred to you that people are paying the prices because they like what it offers as is?
      This development should be located at Elmwood and Summer St. Take out the Key Bank, 7-11, and that other property next door. That is where the apartment buildings fit in nicely. This end of the neighborhood is eclectic, hip, and affluent. It needs restorations, and public planning. Not mercenaries coming in demolishing everything, cashing out and running.

      • JayDBuffalo

        Yes, Obviously they should just build this on land that they DONT own. I cant believe no one else saw how easy that is!

      • Mytwocents

        You can’t just pick and choose where things go. People own particular properties and they have to develop the properties they own.

      • Bringing back Buffalo

        “eclectic, hip, and affluent. ”

        No it’s not. If you think this is hip or eclectic you need to get out more.

      • greenca

        If you consider this part of Elmwood eclectic and hip, the building is the corner should please you and the other “keep Elmwood weird” people. It is a very odd and disjointed looking building. Perhaps that’s what the architect intended as its weirdness fits in with the old vibe of Elmwood.

  • Johnny99

    Developers go where people want to be and Elmwood has proven to be that place in Buffalo. This is what a city on rise looks like. To say “build this on Niagara St” is silly and naive. There is a shortage of available quality housing in the EV and developers are doing something about it. This brings thoughtful urban design and density to the city, as well as retail and tax revenue. Connecticut and Black Rock can be the “New Elmwood” …. Hurry buy now.

    • cs

      Connecticut and Black Rock are not the “New Elmwood” they are just trying to get as close to it as possible while still affordable. We need neighborhoods that don’t touch the existing areas deemed “worthy” for Buffalo to really grow.

      • BlackRockLifer

        As a lifelong resident of Black Rock I welcome new investment. That said we have our own identity and sense of place that is quite unique. Our goal has been to enhance the village feel of the historic core along Amherst St from Niagara to Elmwood complimented by development of the industrial and commercial buildings that ring the neighborhood. I can also say the residents of Black Rock are much less likely to obstruct new development due to our long history of being overlooked and neglected.

    • BlackRockLifer

      Agree with most of your comment but Black Rock doesn’t have the same building stock as the Elmwood Village, we have a mix of residential, commercial and industrial structures. I would argue Black Rock has the most diverse and historic building stock in the city with structures representing almost every period and style from 1830 through the present.
      We don’t want to be the Elmwood Village (not likely anyways), we are actually a real village. Lower Black Rock was an independent village until 1854 and retains much of that village feel especially here in the Market Square Historic District. We like our mix of people of all incomes, our grittiness and our sense of history. There has always been a certain pride here among the long time residents, an independent spirit and sense of community. We hope to build on that after living through decades of decline.

  • eagercolin

    It adds density, it’s mixed use, it offers folks the chance to either rent or buy, it’s built to the curb, and it incorporates what’s already there. Any complaints are either:

    1. Aesthetic nitpicking, which can be ignored
    2. Self-interested property owners upset that there will be more ways to buy into the neighborhood, who can be ignored
    3. Clueless people who think this neighborhood is a quaint and funky village which needs to be frozen in time, who should be mocked.

    • grovercleveland

      I agree with every word of this.

    • Randy503

      I agree in general, but I think the neighborhood and citizens have a right to review the design. We have to live with it for at least 50 years, and it should an asset to the place. We WANT it to be a success and enhance the street!

      • Bringing back Buffalo

        I thought you lived in DC.

        • Randy503

          I have a house in Clarence that I visit regularly, and every time I am in town I visit friends in the city, attend theater and eat at the new places. The sales taxes I have paid over the years…..

          • thefreakinjman

            You live in Clarence. We don’t go out there and tell you to tear down your Olive Gardens and Ruby Tuesdays to build art houses. Just stick to worrying about the town you live in.

          • Randy503

            No can do.

      • townline

        They have the right to review and comment. But way too many people think its their right to hold an architect’s hand at the drawing table. Public input is important. Public micromanagement of every aspect of change – as this city seems to be trending towards, is awful. THAT is exactly how you will end up with bland, everything looking the same.

        • greenca

          “Public micromanagement of every aspect of change – as this city seems to be trending towards, is awful. THAT is exactly how you will end up with bland, everything looking the same.”

          BINGO!

    • BuffalosFinest

      Yes.

    • Mr. B

      4. All of the above, who should be mocked, then ignored . . .

      .

    • Bringing back Buffalo

      It amazes me how many people think Elmwood is funky and original.

      • greenca

        The people opposing this are the ones who think Elmwood is funky and original. Many are baby boomers or ex-hippies who loved the gritty urban vibe when Elmwood was the only cool place in the city. But to actually do something funky and original now, it’s a travesty.

  • Flyguy2pt0

    Growth, density, height, etc typically dictated and a sign of positive demand, positive urban economic conditions. Until demands spread to a wider geography the EV area is the focus of growth and sign of positive economic activity in a city that still has much stagnation. Fortunately we are seeing some positive signs headed Blackrock way as well. Im sure with time those areas will cry foul of change as well. Given resistance for change in the EV area and the Fruit Belt near the growing medical campus I must ask the question does Buffalo want to grow and change or remain in a state of 300,000 people under its population peak? BFLO seems to be a city that wants to change and grow without changing and growing. These structures are the result of basic economic principles resulting from supply and demand and location, location, location.

    Of course the Elmwood area held its own during many years of decline elsewhere in the city. EV has historically been in close proximity to the wealth core of BFLO and with wealth comes political will and power (lets not kid ourselves that it doesnt). Conditions have been favorable and continue to be favorable in that area while the rest of the city floundered and contracted. Its logical this would be the least damaged area of the city people might want to invest and move into whereby demand goes up and so does density. Simply, there’s alot less drama here and investments are more secure. Its how cities dense up and more pedestrians are added to the streets helping to support walkable retail and services, etc. I suppose EV is a victim of its own success if you see EV as a victim of growth and demand. These conditions are not abundant throughout the City yet and the EV area is a micro environment, a city within the city acting as a seed for growth and positive expansion.

    Given resistance to change, outright NIMBY-ism in some instances, can Buffalo ever regain its population that it had lost? If economic forces became super favorable again for Buffalo perhaps driven by populations mass relocating for water resources because places like Vegas, LA, Phoenix are not sustainable, could Buffalo ever become the core of a metro area of 3-4 million, or are forces of resistance so deeply entrenched that there is no way to go other than stagnant or down?

    • OldFirstWard

      And with that you make a compelling argument for NOT destroying a thriving neighborhood. This development is being proposed to make money, not for any other reasons. Turning Elmwood into a suburban strip mall is your idea of progress. That’s why the progressives got voted out this election. People are tired of this crap.

      • BuffaLife

        Stop it. If your candidate won and you’re happy about that, enjoy it. But don’t bring it into a discussion where it has no relevance to the topic.

        Of course people build and develop properties to make money. Otherwise, what’s the point?

        • OldFirstWard

          What are you my mother? The election is barely 36 hours old and you want to stifle any conversation about it because Hillary lost? You can march with the crybabies if you can’t handle the result. It is very relevant and I’ll comment as I please.

          Trump is about to arrive at the White House, are you watching?

          • Jordan Then

            What is his take on historic preservation?

          • OldFirstWard

            Don’t know, but I know what mine is.

          • Jordan Then

            I somehow doubt you’ll have the same thoughts on the matter.

          • BufChester

            Preservation = Regulation = Bad

            I think that probably sums up Trump on preservation

          • BuffaLife

            Your comment about “progressives got voted out this election” is absolutely ironic because your candidate built his fortune doing exactly what you’re complaining about on this thread right here

            If I were your mother, I would have aborted you.

          • Bringing back Buffalo

            Don’t forget he lost the popular vote.

          • OldFirstWard

            I’ll remember that in January at the inauguration.

      • eagercolin

        Every single development that has ever happened in the EV was proposed to make money. This development is not out of character in the regard.

        Also, this development isn’t anything like a suburban strip mall. Obviously.

        • OldFirstWard

          This is the new 21st century strip mall. They all look alike.

          • Wise Profit

            Suburban strip malls have parking in the front. This is built to the curb, just like the entire rest of the street. If built-to-the-curb retail locations are “suburban strip malls” then all of Elmwood already is one and so you have no complaint sir.

          • nesciand

            You spew only verbal diarrhea

      • You certainly do seem resistant to change.

        • OldFirstWard

          I’m resistant to unnecessary change. Or change that destroys history, or tradition for the sake of profit only. Especially when a development could be located someplace else, even on the same street.

          • Let Buffalo Rise

            is the fact that the buildings are beyond repair not enough to trigger necessary change? Real estate and development are a business, what is the main purpose of business? To make money. The previous owners of these buildings neglected them so much that the cost to rehabilitate them is not worth it, Maybe the previous owners of these properties and current owners of all other properties in this so precious neighborhood should be taken to task for letting their properties deteriorate. Better yet if you want to save everything, man up and put your money where you mouth is. Buy a property you want saved and save it.

          • OldFirstWard

            Beyond repair? How do you know that? You don’t, you’re just guessing, I can guess. Was the Richardson Complex beyond repair? Walls falling down, holes in the roof, floors collapsing.

            Maybe you might want to buy into that nonsense but intelligent people know better. It’s a money grab for both parties and nothing else.

          • Let Buffalo Rise

            I was at the meeting last night where they showed the condition of the existing buildings. If you are so concerned, get involved, get out from behind the anonymity of the computer and make your opinions heard in the forums that the parties have given us.

            Intelligent people know it is a completely different argument with the Richardson Complex. That is a building that should absolutely be saved. It is a building done by one of the master architects of the 19th/20th centuries and it is a true gem. These buildings on Elmwood and Bidwell are just old buildings, not significant at all, they cannot be compared to the Richardson Complex.

            As a side note, I wonder how much opposition there was to the behemoth Richardson complex being built back in the day.

          • Bringing back Buffalo

            People hated the Darwin Martin house because it didn’t fit in with the neighborhood. A lot of people hated the Larkin Admin building too, because it looked like a big prison.

          • Wise Profit

            Please destroy that history, Zettis pizza was barf

      • armyof100clowns

        “That’s why the progressives got voted out this election. People are tired of this crap.”

        That’s rich . . . and sadly the most hillarious and ironic post you have made in your long, illustrious career of alternating between a thoughtful and dissenting voice to outright moron.

        Look no further than the President Elect who made his fortune on exactly what you are railing against. Development, as with most things in this world, is driven by demand and the potential to generate wealth. Ask Mr. Trump and he will tell you it’s all about location, opportunity, profit, and, ultimately, self interest. These are mantras repeated in his books, videos, and other outlets, including speeches on the campaign trail.

        • greenca

          Oops, you pointed out OFW’s myopia.

      • Johnny99

        At one time almost all of Elmwood was residential, I mean single family homes and slowly homes were converted into retail or demolished to make way for commercial structures like JP Bullfeathers, in other words it evolved. A hospital was built in a residential neighborhood and now that is going evolve again. And every time it is to make money, everything is to make money and sometimes, albeit rarely like this proposal it is also beneficial and sensitive to existing residents and businesses. If Buffalo was upwardly mobile at any time in the last several decades then development like this would already have happened. This is responsible reinvestment in the area, it is good for an area that has huge potential but has been resting on its laurels for quite some time.

      • rubagreta

        “This development is being proposed to make money, not for any other reasons.”

        That should be a crime.

        If the development is ugly and sucky, the developer will not make money.

        I am not a developer. But I assume that this developer takes extraordinary pride in his work, and would love to drive by it with his out-of-town guests and relatives and say, “I built that!”

    • Jordan Then

      That post was pretty thoughtful.
      One of the main arguments against futher development in the EV is that is should be built in other neighborhoods instead. That is tough to achieve because of Buffalo’s wheel and spoke system of streets. If there were another retail street that were perpendicular to Elmwood then the neighborhood could expand along it and the EV could just grow its boundaries. But we don’t have that and won’t be able to create it. This lends development to continue to coalesce on Elmwood Ave itself.

  • BuffaLife

    Great project! Looks fantastic!

  • jtown

    Great looking project! Like the density and the new life injected into this important section of Elmwood.

    Elmwood strip isn’t a damn museum. Let’s build on the streets great bones and have more of this please.

  • Tim H

    There hasn’t been a new construction development that I haven’t supported in the City of Buffalo, ever, Without more details, this may be the first.

    It’s not because the design is bad, but that it would replace fully functioning and existing historic storefronts on a critical piece of land in the Elmwood Village. Bidwell Parkway is a staple of the Village, and the fully occupied storefronts that are currently in place tie the village together. There’s room for these builidings somewhere else in the village. Consider the semi-dilapidated residential houses lining the street today…a block away from this on Elmwood, between Delevan and Lafayette, or the corner of Forest and Elmwood).

    I don’t think that I can get behind demolishing working buildings that make the Elmwood Village what it is today.

  • armyof100clowns

    Evolve or die.

    I’m feeling worn out and tired by doing this, but it needs to be done in order to place my comment in context.

    I live and own I the EV. I am a self professed junkateer and lover of old things. I love the idea of something unloved, disregarded, and dilapidated being reinvented and reused as as something new and relevant. Sometimes the right answer is restoration, sometimes it is modification, and sometimes it is radical surgery that requires nearly wiping the slate clean.

    If Buffalo wasn’t a place of extremes I believe we could have a much more diverse architectural vocabulary to express our city. The radical demolitions of the urban “renewal” era consumed so much of “where we came from” that it has instilled a fear of “where we could go”.

    In an ideal world we would have beautiful buildings like the DS Morgan next to the Rath, instead of just the Rath. We could have the old Buffalo Public Library as part of a modern, updated complex that includes the modern ’63 building. We could have an intact Shelton Square with the Erie County Savings Bank living side by side with newer architecture. Instead of seas of parking we could have tracts of midcentury and newer builds. This isn’t reality, though; economics and the policies and ideology of the time led to our current state. As the French say, “c’est la vie”.

    So – despite what many will interpret as a lament for these lost gems and an argument against development, I offer this contradiction. If we, as a race, were unwilling or unable to let go of some bits of our past (in this case – architecture) we would still be living in the outpost/farmstead/settlement of “New Amsterdam”. As dictated by men and women looking to work, live, and succeed here, this city evolved. Old structures, as they outlived there purposes, were moved, reused, or demolished to make way for “bigger and better”. This is the organic, biological growth of an urban place.

    EV, and the people that hung on tight in the lean years, deserve to be applauded, but at the same time, their choices do not entitle them to treat the Village as though it were a gated community in Clarence. This project, and others on the strip, are the ultimate testament to the their hard work, determination, and the success of the EV. This project doesn’t “offend” in any way. It preserves the facades of some buildings and replaces others. I think it is a good compromise. The massing is good and the street view looks pretty nice from the video presentation.

    With a little tweaking (Bidwell corner, as mentioned by others), this could be a real stunner and beautiful addition to the EV.

    • OldFirstWard

      You still don’t get it. It’s not about preserving a downtown building designed by a famous architect. It’s about preserving the character and landscape in an intact and thriving neighborhood. That means two to three story houses with setbacks and front lawns, storefronts, two to three story buildings with eclectic shops and restaurants. Not a wall of five story buildings with a sidewalk and a parking meter. That cold, sterile environment belongs on a wide open street like Niagara St., or somewhere on Main St. Where do the birds and trees live in this myopic neighborhood you so desire?

      • eagercolin

        The character of the EV is that it changes. The buildings you have a fetish for aren’t a natural feature of the environment — they were built by developers, they replaced something that had been there before, and they changed the neighborhood. If those buildings are then replaced by newer ones, that isn’t actually anything new.

      • Let Buffalo Rise

        look at the renderings above for the location of your trees.

      • joefrombuffalo2

        Save for a few bars/restaurants, it’s not thriving. Multiple vacancies every year. We need more density to support the local boutiques/shops. We hear everyone complain about Jimmy John’s popping up, but the mom n’ pop shops just can’t survive without bringing more residents to the neighborhood.

      • Wise Profit

        There is more green space in the proposed development than what exists there now so I guess the birds can live in all the new trees planted in the new landscaping.

      • armyof100clowns

        Hmm.

        Where did I pen my manifesto regarding the neighborhood I desire, thus exposing my myopia?

        . . . and apparently it’s you that “doesn’t get it”. EV is and never has been static. That’s one of the reasons why it’s survived. It redefined itself as the needs and wants of the residents and city changed.

        Oh, and friendly suggestion – put on your glasses and read. The examples I gave were not directly related to this project directly, but more-or-less a statement on the treasures lost and Buffalo’s resistance to changing tastes in architecture. As so aptly pointed out by others, projects like the Darwin house were shocking, bold, and in stark contrast to the neighborhood. It had its detractors and critics, but now is seen as a treasure.

        In no way is this project comparable to a FLW work, but it is a functional and generally pleasing set of buildings that compliment the growing neighborhood nicely.

        Believe me . . . I get it. You want a Main Street USA-type setting that forever remains the same. I simply want the the EV (and the whole of Buffalo) to be the best it can be for those that enjoy it. If that means bigger and more urban, so be it (it’s not for me to decide). I just humbly request nice and functional design that compliments the neighborhood.

  • nesciand

    To everyone saying build it somewhere else please wake up. Developers will not build elsewhere if there is a greater willingness and ability to fill these developments in EV. Until EV is developed to the point that further additions would be no more economical than developing in a neighboring area it will continued to be concentrated there. That is how it works, the development radiates from these centers of activity. As far as the development itself it does posses certain qualities that are must haves. Mixed use, open store fronts, built to street, appropriate building materials. It adds activity, it adds walk-ability. and it isn’t yellow siding like that awful building next to the 7-11(also awful). Would it be nice to keep some of the more handsome buildings fully in place, yes but as we now know they are not in proper condition. You can not cry foul on that part if you didn’t take the time to attend the forum.

    • townline

      Well, if developers do build it elsewhere – it won’t be on Niagara or Broadway, etc. Its going to be a different locale with the right demographics. They will go to Amherst, Clarence, OP or someplace completely different in their national portfolio.

    • BufChester

      Economics aren’t the only factor in limiting development. Land use legislation would do the same. If developers couldn’t build to the density that the market would allow they will build as close as they can to where the market is, in hopes they can bring the market to them.

  • eagercolin

    I realize I’m a broken record on this subject, but: anyone who claims that a development should be killed because it threatens to change the character of the EV is either dishonest or ignorant. The neighborhood has never had a static and unchanging character. Building Buff State changed its character. So did building Children’s hospital. So did every time a home was converted into a storefront. In fact, every aspect of the strip that people assume to be part of its character today was disruptive of that character when it was first built.

    • armyof100clowns

      I’m sorry!

      Would you write that again? My myopia is apparently affecting my comprehension.

      What are you prattling on about? ?

  • MrGreenJeans

    Establishing the Elmwood Historic districts appears to have been in vain.

    • BufChester

      National Register Districts convey little actual protection except from projects using state and federal funds.

  • OldFirstWard

    Reflecting on the planned destruction of the Elmwood Village…

    You rows of houses! you window-pierc’d façades! you roofs!
    You porches and entrances! you copings and iron guards!
    You windows whose transparent shells might expose so much!
    You doors and ascending steps! you arches!
    You gray stones of interminable pavements! you trodden crossings!
    From all that has touch’d you I believe you have imparted to yourselves, and now would impart the same secretly to me,
    From the living and the dead you have peopled your impassive surfaces, and the spirits thereof would be evident and amicable with me.

    Walt Whitman from Song of the Open Road in Leaves of Grass in 1856.

    • BufChester

      Wow.

  • Texpat

    At first, I was not a fan. I spent a lot of time looking at it though, and it is growing on me. The most interesting of the existing buildings will be saved. I think the architects were attempting to mirror the existing the peaked facades in their Arbor building. This is going to be the one built later, so maybe that will get finessed a bit? I still would not be surprised to see this held up in court.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    So Parisian in feel that you felt compelled to rechristen it the Riviere.

    I kid. Good post, sir

  • thefreakinjman

    Can’t wait. Elmwood Village will look like Sarasota, FL in no time! Bye bye Ashkers, hello Jimmy Johns and Moe’s! Or please, please, please can we land one of those awesome Sprint wireless stores?! Omg. I’m so excited for this!!

  • Bruce Baker

    Just enjoy the building’s and shut up. This is why it has taken Buffalo such a long stretch without progress. You have a beautiful City and don’t know it.