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Urbanist Visions – Highland Park Project Breaks Ground

LPCiminelli has broken grown on the Highland Park project, located on the site of the former Central Park Plaza in the Fillmore Leroy neighborhood. This is Phase 1 of the three phases for the $90 million project, which will ultimately result in 600 units in a mix of rental apartments, for-sale homes and townhomes. 

Louis P. Ciminelli bought the 27-acre Central Park Plaza site for $800,000 in 2012. Located at 129 Holden Street, Central Park Plaza was once a thriving property with many commercial tenants, but as a result of the failure of its owners to maintain the site and changing demographics and shopping patterns, the tenants left and it had become a neighborhood nuisance.

Its Brooklyn-based owner was ordered to sell the property under a settlement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Shortly after purchase, five buildings, approximately 275,000 square feet, were demolished at cost of $1.2 million.

Before breaking ground, LPCiminelli incorporated the extension of Chalmers Avenue into the project, which was the final piece of the puzzle, and signaled that work could commence. Phase 1 ($24M in investment) will include 4 buildings, totaling 52 apartments for rent, and 32 single-family for-sale townhomes. Preleasing for this segment is scheduled for Spring 2018. The first leg of the project will be move-in ready by summer of 2018. 

What is interesting to note about this project is the urbanist approach that the developer is taking. The build out is intended to create a very walkable neighborhood, that is in close proximity to numerous forms of public transportation, including the Metro Rail Corridor. This new (for Buffalo) pedestrian friendly and transit-oriented layout is said to be a blueprint for further Buffalo developments down the road. There was no mention of bike lanes, shared walkways, or bike amenities, which would be a natural for this project.

L to R: Denise M. Juron-Borgese – Vice President of Development & Planning at Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation, Dennis M. Penman – Executive Vice President & Principal at Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation, John A. Ciminelli – Senior Vice President at LPCiminelli, Inc., Mayor Byron W. Brown, Ulysees O Wingo Sr. – Masten District Common Council Member, Beverly Davis

Buffalo Mayor, Byron W. Brown stated, “My administration has set the foundation to attract private development back to the city, complementing the investments we’ve made in housing, community facilities, and infrastructure. It’s great to see the success of these with a developer who shares this vision and is building mixed-income housing in a neighborhood that’s primed for a great future.”

John A. Ciminelli, Senior Vice President of LPCiminelli stated, “The development process for Highland Park has revealed a strong desire by our community to strengthen existing neighborhoods and build on the assets of the City of Buffalo. The start of construction at Highland Park moves us all one step closer to realizing those goals.”

Project team members include LPCiminelli, Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation, HHL Architects, Goody Clancy, and Wendel Companies. Learn more here.

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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  • Johnny Pizza

    “is building mixed-income housing”

    At an average unit cost of $285,000 per unit, this is not going to be mixed income Mr. Mayor.

    • Vandra

      But doesn’t “average” mean some are more and some are less? And isn’t the entire site surrounded by less expensive housing?

      • Johnny Pizza

        Yes, that is correct, but the average is almost 2x the median home price in the city. I think it will be “mixed-income” from the sense of having different price points, but those price points are going to be well above the price range for any person making an average income. Either that or they will have to be wildly mixed price points, like a $500,000 house next to a $700 per month one-bedroom, but that seems unlikely to me.

        • guydudebro

          Usually people with average incomes don’t buy brand new houses or rent brand new apartments.

          • Johnny Pizza

            Hence my questioning of the mayor’s statement that this is mixed income. If you need to make $60k a year to rent a place here then its not really “mixed income”, at least in the usual meaning of that term.

          • OldFirstWard

            They do if the City is giving a generous subsidy.

    • 300miles

      It’s a mix of one-bedroom and two-bedroom rental apartments, and some for-sale townhomes. So costs will vary resulting in mixed-income housing. I don’t know if some units will also be subsidized in some way for certain residents (haven’t see that mentioned in articles).

  • OldFirstWard

    “Its Brooklyn-based owner was ordered to sell the property under a settlement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.”

    If only the Attorney General could force Darryl Carr to sell those brick buildings at 110 – 118 South Park Ave. in the Cobblestone District. Just not to Savarino.