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Better Look: 1091 Main Street

Originally posted February 4; updated with new images.

We are getting a look at what Ellicott Development is planning for the Our Lady of Lourdes property on Main Street. The developer is showing plans on its website for a six-story mixed-use building south of the church combining retail and office space. It will connect to the church by a winter garden and the church itself will contain a mix of retail, restaurant and office space.  The project will also be reviewed by the Planning Board on February 13.

From the website:

1091 Main is located at the northeast corner of St. Paul and Main Street directly south of the former Our Lady Lourdes church at 1115 Main Street.

Designed by Smith + Associates Architects, the proposed structure offers a modern exterior with a range of materials selected to communicate an aesthetic connection to the adjacent historic church. At six stories in height, 1091 Main will include approximately 167,000 square feet of retail and office space. In addition, the building will include one level of underground parking for 50 vehicles, which will be accessed from the north. Ample additional parking will be available on adjacent surface parking lots at the rear of the property. The new six-story structure will internally connect with the former Our Lady Lourdes church by way of a two-story winter garden that would be constructed between the buildings.

The historic Our Lady Lourdes church will undergo an adaptive restoration in conjunction with the development of 1091 Main. The former church will be transformed into a vibrant mix of retail, restaurant and commercial office space. Two additional floors will be constructed within the open cathedral nave producing approximately 14,000 square feet over three floors.

In 2009, Ellicott Development purchased the Our Lady of Lourdes convent and school from Prayer & Praise Fellowships Inc. for $370,000. One year later the company bought the adjacent church that was closed in 1993. Ellicott has also been buying and demolishing residential properties on St. Paul Mall. 1091 Main Street will be built on the site of the rectory and school that were demolished in 2014.

Get Connected: Ellicott Development, 716.854.0060

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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  • Joe Dotterweich

    They incorporate the church in this design, they couldn’t do the same with the bachelor??

    • Todd Chapple

      Yeah, great point! Big time blunder by Ellicott Development for tearing down the incredible historic fabric that was the Bacholar Apt.! I’ve written against before and after about thier terrible atrocity and equally appalling parking garage design. Could’ve been a real special project for them, to connect a nice residential mid-size attached to it! Plenty of available parking in that area!

    • disqus_etPpWltdKD

      And here we go. The Bachelor had ZERO architectural significance to it.

      • Michael DiPasquale

        That is a very uninformed comment showing a complete lack of awareness of history, architecture and urban design.

    • Michael DiPasquale

      Good point. But Carl does what he wants. The heck with what anyone else thinks or what is good for the general public. That’s how he and his company operate. That’s the sick part.

      • HousingBubble2

        Carl has almost single handedly rebuilt this pow dunk town with some very nice projects. I doubt he cares what an armchair neophyte like yourself has to say. If you don’t like it then go start a company like he did and start building. Don’t be a hating liberal extremist.

  • robert biniszkiewicz

    surprise! the church stays, suspicions otherwise notwithstanding.

    I don’t see anything to which I’d object. Good news for the campus and for Main.

    • OldFirstWard

      “I don’t see anything to which I’d object.”

      Yet the suspense of an eternal wait for your objection is killing everyone. You never object to anything new. Though I would hesitate before doing any pirouettes in the winter garden as I don’t see any sketches or renderings of an adaptive reuse for the church at all.

      • greenca

        Just like your constant objections to almost everything are anxiously awaited by everyone.

        No wait, hardly anyone ever agrees with them.

        • OldFirstWard

          Most people on this site favor demolition and new builds, that includes you. I’m an advocate for preservation. I don’t care if anyone agrees with that.

          • Bob

            “I don’t care if anyone agrees with that.”

            You’re annoying and arrogant. You *should* care that you’re harming the perception people have of actual, real preservationists and their legitimate goals and concerns, but you’re so in love with yourself that of course you don’t. “Advocate,” my butt.

          • Nick

            Bob let’s get married. We will bond over our distaste towards @OldFirstWard:disqus

          • BuffaloGals

            Your advocacy for preservation includes preserving a parking lot downtown because the mean old building gets in the way of sunsets. That’s why nobody cares what you think.

          • Chris Ostrander

            Yeah but have you *watched* a sunset from the Webster Block? There’s nothing like having Times Beach Preserve block half of the view

          • BuffaloGals

            The Webster Block view itself was nice but it was nothing compared to the view from Perry and Michigan. When considering the economic benefits of Harbor Center you have to remember the negatives too, namely the tourism dollars lost from sunset chasers who used to stay on that corner.

          • greenca

            No. Most people on this site are pragmatic and prefer and applaud restoration when it’s appropriate and feasible. You’re just plain miserable and unhappy.

          • GatesResident

            Really? So you will advocate for the preservation of the Shoreline Apartments?

          • OldFirstWard

            No I wouldn’t, and never did. Brutalist architecture is garbage for the most part. It is unworthy of preservation. That’s why it is being demolished nationwide.

            In most cases, I fully support the architecture that stood on the site before some genius destroyed and replaced a beautiful building with the dreaded Brutalist nightmare.

          • GatesResident

            The argument that Shoreline is ugly, or run down, or whatever, is the exact same argument people used to justify the demolition of the Larkin Building in 1950. Attitudes toward architectural styles change, and it’s arrogant to think that ideas you have now will be what people think in perpetuity. The tide is turning on the reception of Brutalism, and more and more younger architects and art historians (who grew up around Brutalism in the 1970s) are finding inspiration in it. Unfortunately, a lot of it won’t be around in 20 years because of attitudes like yours. Simply put, preservation is preservation. You are a preservationist*. The asterisk denotes that you only want to save buildings you deem fit (namely, old buildings).
            You are one part of a much larger trend I see here on BRO that sets up a double standard that’s not going to help the preservation community moving forward. It goes like this: any old building constructed in the City (say, before 1920) is vital to the City as a whole and must be saved at all costs. This goes for all old buildings, no matter how small or who designed them. Old buildings that have been torn down will be lamented forever (not to say that Buffalo has made some big mistakes in the past when it comes to destroying historic buildings, but I’ve never seen as much focus on this issue as I have in Buffalo).
            Conversely, any modern building (say, built after 1950) is terrible, horrible, etc. and will never fit into the fabric of the city, no matter how long it’s been here (You even ragged on Kleinhans). Tear it down immediately and let’s all find pictures of what used to be on the site. There are some ugly modern buildings in the City, for sure (Convention Center) but the problem is that people here tend to draw absolutes. Old building=always good and worthy of saving, Newer buildings=ugly and tear it down.

          • greenca

            It’s not just Brutalist buildings, many mid-century buildings are in danger as well. They are an important part of our history, just as Art Deco and Victorian buildings are also an important part of our history. I am not a fan of the Shoreline buildings. IMO they are horrible and too cold-looking to be someone’s home. The Convention Center is plain ugly, and did too much to destroy the street grid (as did Shoreline) and make Pearl street side look like a wide uninviting alley. The City Court building has very much grown on me; there is a certain dignity about it as a court house. Even the Buffalo News building has its own brutalist charm.

        • OldFirstWard

          Obviously Ellicott Development did. That’s why were seeing some new renderings. The thing I like most about “likes” is that everyone can see all the idiots that support stupid responses from a select group of people here. Believe me, those are the people you want to ignore. How many of those 11 or so above are the same person using different screen names?

          • GatesResident

            Ugh. Are you one of those “all Trump protesters are being paid” people? I use one screen name, and resent the idea that there’s only one or two people here that disagree with you.

      • robert biniszkiewicz

        re: “You never object to anything new.”

        I objected to Ciminelli’s Bidwell proposal (the southern half, at least).

    • Ian


  • OldFirstWard

    “the proposed structure offers a modern exterior with a range of materials selected to communicate an aesthetic connection to the adjacent historic church.”

    Considering the church was constructed with Medina sandstone, I’m curious to see how the aesthetic connection will be made.

  • SpongebobOnYoShirt-Lookin Boy

    Looks good to me. The downtown area needs big buildings like this. Shame we consider a mere 6 stories big in this city but hey, progress. It looks nice and the church is being incorporated into the plans. If they put apartments in there as well as some nice retail it will be an AWESOME addition for medical students, faculty, researchers, doctors, etc. when the Jacobs School of Medicine Moves over in 2018. I think people are seriously underestimating and not talking about how big an impact that will have on the surrounding area. The school will have a total of 750 students when full by 2021 and already has 743 faculty members and their still hiring according to the latest address. All of those people will need to live somewhere and how convenient would it be to live in a place like this or the Campus Square Project, the Sidway etc. We need more buildings like this because once the school moves the people WILL come. 750+ at least that’s for sure.

    • TrueStoryBflo

      How is “SpongebobOnYoShirt-Lookin Boy” the only reasonable one in here? Crazy. I agree with the sponge bob shirt.

      • SpongebobOnYoShirt-Lookin Boy

        Lol thank you

  • Josh Robinson

    Great plan and a great re-use of the Our Lady of Lourdes property. I am the first to admit that I have been skeptical of their intentions to develop it, as the total lack of coverings over the windows seemed to suggest demo by neglect, but I am glad to see it saved from the wrecking ball at last. Just don’t wait too long to stabilize it!

    Wish we could have seen this outcome with The Bachelor, but at least the Buffalo Christian Center will see a fantastic re-use in the new structure.

    • Michael DiPasquale

      Ellicott is proposing an awful project for that site.

      • Bringing back Buffalo

        (zero likes)

  • Jonnno

    It all looks good but no mention of when this is supposed to be finished or even when they are going to start construction

  • eagercolin

    I like Bistro, but I wish they had better vegetarian and vegan options.

    • Matt Marcinkiewicz

      Want to meet there, then head to Brewery afterwards?

  • eagercolin

    So if they’re planning to incorporate the church into the new building, why have they let it sit open to the elements for years? And why did they lie about their plans for sealing it up? It makes no sense.

  • buffal066

    Nice addition to Main St in a stretch that desperately needs some density.

    On that note, how long does the lone little Wendy’s building next door on its relatively huge parcel make sense? At some point, as the land value rises, it must exceed the income potential of the actual business. It’d be great to see a developer offer them a nice sum and get something urban on that site(Wendy’s could even be welcomed to move back into the retail space if it could be adapted). That really helps fill in Main St up to Summer nicely.

    • S Mills

      It’s probably more than a long shot but I’d love to see another development take on the Summer-Best metro station. All those stations are hideous and need to be redeveloped into part of mixed use structures.

      I hope the NFTA is at least open to the idea.

      • 300miles

        I’m sure the NFTA would be very open to it. They’ve already done that at the Allen Station. It would guarantee more riders and ticket sales.

        • No_Illusions

          Sure, they’re open to it as long as they are not paying for it.

      • buffal066

        Yeah, you know there’s a design problem with a metro station when you feel the urge to toss a grenade from it.

      • MatthewK

        thinking the same for lasalle station the other day…

      • BeatHarvard

        It would be cool to see more stations integrated with big office/residential buildings as Main Street continues to redevelop. There are a few buildings like this in Boston where residents can literally take the elevator down to the T without ever stepping outside. Right now the metro doesn’t really have the ridership to make this a huge value-add but I could see it happening at Summer/Best and maybe Humbolt Hospital

      • ChronicWestSider

        I’ve always thought the Summer Best station and the one at Delevan and Main looked like bunkers. I am headed there when the big one hits…

  • Michael DiPasquale

    Sorry folks. I don’t think this site should be promoting in any way, a project that is being built by Carl Paladino and his company. His disgusting behavior detracts from all the positive things going on in the city.

    • robert biniszkiewicz

      re: ” I don’t think this site should be promoting in any way, a project that is being built by Carl Paladino and his company”:

      seriously? He’s a misogynist, racist, angry white dinosaur. But nevertheless, his real estate projects have a direct impact on this city (largely positive, btw). Do you imagine that his projects are in any way impacted by whether or not this site acknowledges them? No. Our awareness of his endeavors will not in any way affect him or them. So what is the advantage of ignorance? Why should we hold our breath and pretend he isn’t there? How does being ignorant of his company’s developments benefit us? It doesn’t.

      • Michael DiPasquale

        I stand by my comments. What is the value of “being aware” of Carl Paladino’s projects?
        A person like Carl needs to be shunned and marginalized (for all the reasons you mentioned) not promoted with puff pieces on blogs like this.

        • Johnny Pizza

          And Thomas Jefferson committed adultery with his slaves, WELP guess we’ll have to scrap the Constitution.

      • HousingBubble2

        Why are you and the liberals so hung up on misogynies ? Who cares !? Are you going to tell me that Billy Clinton, Harvey Wiener, Elliot Spitzer (all dems) were not mysogynists and much worse than Trump??! Lets judge the guy on what he does in the next four years. Get over it !

      • Rand503

        Mr. Burns: “General Tso, you were a blood thirsty tyrant, but your chicken is delectable.”

    • Josh Robinson

      To be fair, Bill Paladino is the CEO of Ellicott Development these days, not Carl. I know it’s a family business and Carl is still around but don’t assume he’s the one calling all the shots.

      • Michael DiPasquale

        He’s the father. To think that he’s not calling the shots is to not understand the workings of an Italian family.

        • Johnny Pizza

          Let me get this straight, you are “boycotting” the development projects (however you do that I don’t know) of a company because it was founded by someone who you find to be a racist and misogynist, and then you come here and generalize about how all Italian American families function? I’m Italian and that’s not how my family functions. But I guess you know all?
          I’m giving you a big Donald Trump thumbs up for that one chief. Hypocrisy at its very finest.

    • No_Illusions

      The development is happening one way or another.

      Keeping people in the dark by not reporting on it is just as bad.

    • Shane

      I bet you’re more “outraged” at some ignorant comments by Paladino then the massacre of close to one hundred people at the gay night club in Orlando.

      • OldFirstWard

        Where did that come from? But since you mentioned it, millennials and feminists don’t care about that. They love Muslims. They run into the streets defending Muslims, and notice that they don’t really even mention Mexicans.

        When those children were massacred in Connecticut at the elementary school and the parents were fighting for tougher gun laws, where were the protests for the American children? Was that not a worthy cause? Apparently not.

        • Texpat

          What the hell are you talking about? Firstly Christians are a far bigger threat to gays in America than Muslims are. Secondly the extreme right wing try to frame Sandyhook as a hoax. Republicans in Congress blocked any attempt a gun control. There was plenty of out rage it was just squashed by the NRA and right wing nuts.

          • OldFirstWard

            Again, where were the protests?

          • Texpat

            Faced with the National Rifle Association’s silence in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., opponents of the group are taking to Washington to protest.

            Chanting “Shame on the NRA,” a couple hundred activists marched Monday from a park on Capitol Hill to the NRA’s office. From ABC

            Use your Google box.

            But what is your point anyway?

      • Michael DiPasquale

        Please explain. I don’t understand the comment.

        • HousingBubble2

          What don’t you get? I understand it just fine!

    • grovercleveland

      For a guy who wants the site to boycott the developer, your 10+ posts in this thread sure say otherwise

  • BufChester

    Putting a rendering on your website and actually doing something to preserve the church are two entirely different things.

  • 300miles

    This project seems surprisingly perfect. Good height, underground parking, Retail(!), historic preservation. Because it seems good and it’s Ellicott, I’ll remain skeptical. Hopefully the finalized details are just as good and they get started soon.

  • jtown

    Looks like they hired an architect for this building, why couldn’t they do the same for their proposed building on Pearl….

  • elmwoodrulez

    Carl couldnt get the zoning for a racism factory?

  • JSmith37

    Some “interested amateur” commentary on how this project will fare under the Green Code:

    The Green Code goes into effect in this zone on April 3rd. If Ellicott gets all of their approvals before that date, it can be approved under the former zoning code; otherwise, they will have to meet Green Code regulations.

    The parcel is zoned N-1C (mixed-use core) with the C-M Metro Rail overlay. Main Street is the principal thoroughfare defining the front facade, and St. Paul is the corner side. The building is a commercial block, and must meet the following standards:

    There is no lot width maximum. Building coverage can be up to 100%, and must be built up to the front and corner side lot lines (i.e, the sidewalk) for a minimum of 85% of its width. An interior side lot between the north side of the building and the church can be a maximum of 30′ wide. There is no required minimum rear yard.

    Maximum building height is 1.25 times the width of the widest adjacent thoroughfare. It looks to me like Main Street is about 90′ wide here, so the max height would be 112.5′. Minimum ground floor story height is 15′. There’s no minimum upper floor story height, but six stories should fit. With no problem. N-1C requires a minimum of 2 stories, and C-M further requires a minimum of 3 stories.

    The main entrance is required to be on Main Street.

    All uses proposed are allowed by right in N-1C.

    Any surface parking lot must be wholly located in the rear yard. A transportation demand management plan is required, addressing ways to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips and encourage other forms of transportation to meet the anticipated demand.

  • Doug Wallis

    I think the key here is that Our Lady of Lourdes will be saved and the sooner they seal up the building the sooner everyone concerned will exhale in relief.

  • Buffalo Resurrection

    Perhaps it is the drawing perspective or mine but the building appears to be far too large for the parcel of real-estate it is supposed to occupy. Regardless, nice to see a proposal that includes the former Our Lady of Lourdes even if it is a shade of its former self.

  • Mrjones

    It’s a bit busy in my opinion, and obliterates the church. I think a more appropriate scale would be about half the size, maybe the roof lining up with the ridge of the church, so the steeple is the highest element of the composition. The potential there to make the two work together architecturally and not just programmatically is lost. However, I am happy to see the church will be restored and the development is good for the city.

    • greenca

      It’s more than appropriate to have a six story building on Main Street, very near downtown, regardless of being adjacent to a (former) church. Besides, the main steeple is on the opposite side from this development.

      That’s what cities do, they have buildings over three or four stories. I don’t understand the constant objection to density and height.

      • Mrjones

        no objection, just an opinion. I’m not crying because its 6 stories downtown. I think the density is good. I just think, per my particular taste that I’ve developed thru almost 8 years of architecture school and urban planning studies, that if the two are connecting and suppose to work together programmatically, I would have liked to see that expressed more architecturally. Rather then a new build next to an old church, there could have been a more holistic approach. I’m not a huge fan of the design but regardless… thumbs up for the project. =) stay fly

  • Flyguy2pt0
    Has a Hyatt Place Main Street Williamsville vibe to it. I wonder if same architect or at least served as some inspiration?

    • benfranklin

      More Snyder than Williamsville. Think they could have built that in the Elmwood Village?

      • Flyguy2pt0

        Agreed, more Snyder than Williamsville. The 290 I guess is the dividing line. I have my doubts in the Elmwood Village given some of the recent proposals that ran into brick walls over there. Anything with height or bulk appears to end up controversial, especially if there is existing structure(s) there.

      • Flyguy2pt0

        Agreed, more Snyder than Williamsville. The 290 I guess is the dividing line. I have my doubts in the Elmwood Village given some of the recent proposals that ran into brick walls over there. Anything with height or bulk appears to end up controversial, especially if there are existing structure(s) there. Then again I believe the hotel pictured had a fight also.

        I am not certain cities could ever develop in their historic form anymore. If today was 1832 Buffalo with a growth trajectory of 120 years ahead of it with positive economic conditions but we had todays mindset I just dont see it as possible. There is a deeply rooted resistance to change and this vibe that everyone is out to get you and intrude on your space. Its less greater good and broader community vision or being rationally open to the possibility that change happens and places evolve in a dynamic urban environment. Things alot more “selfishly” interpreted now with less room for negotiation and more “all or none” bull headed-ness.

        I see this in high growth communities where you have fairly new development built 5-10 years ago with residents who now fight against a new development next door. It
        comes down to a philosophy where its ok for me and my neighbors to be here but the door closes after that and nobody else is welcome because…traffic (even though angered person and their neighborhood is part of the traffic problem too), scenic views (on someone elses private land who has development rights just like the property owner of the land their house now sits on), a whole host of other creative reasons. I think perhaps neighborhoods these days would be happy with moats, walls and drawbridges around them.

        I wish this project well and hope for success. Would love to see the Queen City Landing project and Elmwood- Forest corner projects come to fruition also considering the headaches they endured. Anyone have any updates on the Willoughby Insurance Building proposal?

  • Doug Wallis

    bottom line is that I’m glad Our Lady of Lourdes will be saved. It would have been nice to use more of the materials from Our Lady and something a little conventional in design but I’m not the builder and its close enough not to criticize.

  • Buffalo Resurrection

    These comments remind me of this past weekend’s news
    report on Darius G. Pridgen’s concerns
    about the late 19th century property in the medical corridor that once housed a
    medical practice, being targeted by preservationist by posting signs that read:
    “please don’t flatten me”. He urged the individual or
    individuals to come forward and bring their concerns to him as he is convinced
    the perpetrators do not reside in the neighborhood and, rightly so, have no
    right to post on city property. This leads me to ask: “How many people posting
    about the former Our Lady of Lourdes actually reside in the area?”

    Please don’t think I am being antagonist as my initial response to Mr. Pridgen’s comments was negative
    but afterwards, I had to agree with him as it really is the residents who
    should have a vote as to what development comes to their neighborhood and not
    the general public who may pass-by on their way to work or simply read about it
    on Buffalo Rising.

    • FreedomCM

      Why do you think that expressed concern should be limited to those that reside nearby, and not those who may interact with it (even ‘driving by on their way to work)?

      How closely do you have to reside to be allowed to have input? 1 block? 1 mile? City of Buffalo? Erie County?

  • What A. Bunch of Morons

    Perhaps Sean Ryan should redesign this project as well, since he is so talented………..

  • Buffalove guy

    I dislike carl as much as the next person but take him out of the equation and it’s hard to say it’s not a decent if not great project. I hate to say its better than nothing, but it honestly is. Not every project can or will be amazing. But this gets the job done and will aid in the revitalization of Main Street. Hopefully once Main Street is in better shape we will start to see development move eastward.