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Big Reveal: New Look for Ciminelli Waterfront Project

Ciminelli Real Estate has revised its plans for a residential development in Waterfront Village. The developer is now seeking approval for seven, three-story townhouses and four condominium buildings, each with six units. It is a change from their previous proposal for ten townhouses and a five-story condominium building with twenty units. Carmina Wood Morris is designing the project that is being called “The West End” and would be located between the Marina Park and Portside developments.

Ciminelli was named designated developer for the vacant, 2.4 acre, City-owned site at 240-260 Lakefront Boulevard in early-2015. The development team has been tweaking its plans since after neighbors objected to building heights and locations.

From the Project Application:

The proposed project is made up of seven townhomes. Each townhome is 3 stories with an integrated garage at ground level. The townhomes will be slab on grade with a façade of masonry and glass. Six of the townhomes are 3,300 square feet and one townhome is 4,900 sf. These square footage numbers include the garage.

In addition, there are four condominium buildings, each with six units for a total of 24 condos. Each building has one level of below grade parking and three floors of residential above grade. Each of the above grade floors will have two condominium units of 1,800 sf with a shared central vestibule. The footprint of each condominium building is 4,410 square feet. All 31 units will be sold at market value and will offer open floor plans with views of the water and the city skyline. As a requirement of the RFP and the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), public access to the waterfront will be maintained.

According to the application cover letter, Ciminelli has conducted seven neighborhood meetings, five of those were open to the general public to solicit feedback on its plans. The remaining two meetings were with representatives from the four surrounding developments (Admirals Walk, Marina Park, Portside, and Breakwaters).

According to Amber Holycross, Ciminelli Real Estate’s Senior Development Manager, “the community’s feedback was consistent throughout the process, with the focus being on concerns that building height and mass would disrupt views. The project team listened to the requests of the community and is submitting a plan which keeps all buildings to a maximum of three stories. The current project also aligns with the feedback of the community by eliminating the single condominium building and replacing it with four smaller buildings, which allow views through the site. In summary, the overall building height was reduced by one story (or 12 feet) and the overall project square footage was reduced from 168,000 sf to 67,900 sf.”

Neighbors are still not pleased.

On December 20, the Waterfront Village Advisory Board sent a letter to the Mayor and other City officials outlining their concerns with the project. Their issues involve setbacks, density, and a reduced height “to conform with neighboring properties in the Waterfront Village.” They’re asking for a setback from the Erie Basin Marina shoreline of 160 feet to preserve the “greatest number of resident’s view shed.” Ciminelli is proposing 110 feet from the breakwall. They also want a 50-foot setback from Lakefront Boulevard and Ojibwa Circle, comparable to Breakwaters (51’), Portside (62’) and Rivermist (51’).  Each of those projects have driveways. Ciminelli’s project does not and proposes a 25-foot setback.

The Waterfront Village Advisory Board also wants fewer units. Ciminelli is proposing 12.5 units per acre while Portside has 7.75 units/acre and Marina Park has 9.7. And they want reduced height. Marina Park’s buildings are up to three floors and 42’ at the roof peak. Ciminelli is proposing 38 feet for the townhouses and 49 feet for the condo buildings.

The Planning Board will begin its review of the project on Monday.

Ciminelli’s prior proposal for the site included a five-story building and ten townhouses.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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