It’s been a wild ride over the last couple of years, but it looks as if Sinatra & Company Real Estate and Ellicott Development have finally gained the approval that they were seeking from the City to move forward with their Elmwood Crossing project. In the last couple of weeks there have been some rumblings by the usual suspects who wanted to dictate a number of seemingly illogical changes to the development roadmap, but thanks to a new PUD (Planned Unit Development) that created new zoning overlays for the project, it should be a much smoother road ahead to get the development built. The Common Council signed-off on the PUD guidelines today.
Developer Nick Sinatra says that he is happy with where it all ended up. With the new zoning overlay measures in place (slight amendments are being made to the project to accommodate the zoning changes), the development team will seek necessary City permits and Planning Board approvals for individual components, but the process should now be streamlined. There will no longer be a need for variances as long as the project stays within the approved PUD.
Essentially, we’re looking at a similar project that was proposed two years ago, minus a charter school. The project will see a mix of condos and townhomes (for sale), market rate and affordable apartments (for rent), a grocery store (on West Utica), and creative office spaces within the tower.
Currently, work is underway at the corner of Elmwood and Bryant to create a mixed use building (see here). The rest of the Elmwood Crossings footprint had been semi-stalled, awaiting approval of the zoning overlay. Twenty percent of the units in the project will be affordable. Currently, EduKids on Hodge Avenue is under review and they have an agreement with People Inc. to build a portion of the affordable units.
This is great news for the Elmwood Village, especially for the 500 Block of Elmwood that has languished for years. Commercial development along West Utica will help to bolster that section of Elmwood, which will benefit greatly from being in close proximity to the Elmwood Crossing. Sinatra also says that the development team has a Land Development Agreement to purchase John C. Gallagher Ramp from the City, upon which time some of the parking will be dedicated to the public, and businesses along Elmwood Avenue.
Hopefully this recent news will help Sinatra and Ellicott Development to solidify some commercial deals that may have been circling the wagons, waiting to hear about necessary approvals before taking crucial first steps towards signing leasing agreements. I am of the belief that this project, as a whole, has the potential of becoming another epicenter of Elmwood, much the way Bidwell Parkway has become a focal point on the street, abuzz with life and vitality.