City Aims for Mixed-Use Project on Ellicott Lot

An Ellicott Street parking lot could be the site of a mixed-use project.  The City will soon seek development ideas for the full-block lot located between the bus terminal and library. 

With 2.5 acres and 360 feet of Ellicott Street frontage, the publicly-owned site is big enough to accommodate the structured parking that Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps and the City seem intent on building along with other uses.  A Request for Proposals will see if there is any developer interest in the property.  It is expected that the City and developer will enter into an agreement where a parking ramp on the site will be publicly-financed while the selected firm constructs offices, residences, retail space or other uses.

DSC_0815.JPGA study completed in 2008 by parking consultants Desman Associates recommended a 1,477 space parking ramp be built on the lot along with three others downtown.  Based on the $50/month parking rate at the 375 space lot currently, there doesn’t appear to be significant demand for parking along the Ellicott Street corridor.  That could change.

The City wants to replace the 1,000 parking spaces that will be “lost” when the Main Place parking ramp reverts to private ownership in 2019.

If Rocco Termini is able to pull together complicated financing packages for the restoration of the Lafayette Hotel and AM&A’s department store, 190 new residences, 157 hotel rooms, office space and traffic-generating restaurants and banquet space will open on nearby blocks.  Plans for a mix of uses on the lot would mesh well with Termini’s plans for retail space in the basement level of the Lafayette Hotel fronting Ellicott Street. 

ellicott streetside.png

Bing Streetview

The Warehouse Lofts project is the lone bright spot on the unpleasant two block stretch of Ellicott between N. Division and the library.  Proper development of the parking lot site would help link Erie Community College, the bus terminal and the baseball stadium on the south to the promising AM&A’s and Lafayette projects and the emerging residential district to the north

There are arguably better ‘shovel-ready’ downtown locations more appropriate for mixed-use development.  At the end of the day, the market will determine if the site is ready for an infill project.  One suspects that the City will get a ramp built on the property, with or without additional uses.  Fingers crossed the process plays out better than the La Riviere RFP debacle in Waterfront Village. 

About the author  ⁄ queenseyes

Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Catalyst behind the Pierce-Arrow Film Arts Center. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette. Themed New Years mayhem at various locations. Next up: Porchfest... Also offers package tours of the city for groups or individuals. Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com

14 comments
grad94
grad94

subdividing it into 4 smaller blocks is a great idea. it could offer some of the intimate, fine-grained, small-scaled spaces that charm us at all of the village-y places we like to go on vacation, from cape cod to chautauqua.

Lego1981
Lego1981

This block USED to have row houses including the block east of it where the ugly suburban building and massive lots are. BUT, the city knocked them all down for 'Shovel Ready' back in the glorious 1960's. And yet we still wait for something to be built on all of them. Can we also push for mixed-use development along W. Huron Street?????? And as far as Main Place Mall, can we start a petition to get rid of it's current owners unless they market it to RETAILERS and/or actually FIX UP the f'n mall??????????/

Andrew
Andrew

That is a really good idea

sobuffbillsfan
sobuffbillsfan

I would actually love to see a block like this downtown cut by 1 or 2 side streets and build some 3 story row houses that go for $150-200k. Maybe even a nice little pocket park in the middle for the residents.

The city wants people down town and want residents, I think they desperately covent middle class famileis. Well Middle class people do not live in a $400,000 condo on a 15th floor, or a 1300 sq. ft. loft appartment.

If they want to do that and keep some downtown fabric row houses would be a great addition. You can do some amazing things with row houses, roof top decks and gardens, alleys for garages and garbage.

I truely believe a block like this with 30-40 competively prices (by that I mean with new builds in Hamburg, Lancaster, and OP) would sell well and go a long way in helping revitalize downtown Buffalo. I would definately buy one, so there are only 39 left :)

phrank
phrank

But those spots under the Main Place Mall are not going to be "lost". They will just no longer be under control of the city. Cars will continue to park there, just under the control of the owner of Main Place Mall, so having tenants of the Mall complex park there is not a loss.

I agree that the Augspurger Ramp was not the outcome as promised. We'll never see the ground floor converted to retail.

I find it amusing how the City names it's ramps after people like it's some kind of great honor. Parking ramps by their very nature should be named for their location for ease of finding it while driving. I've tried to tell people to park at the Augspurger Ramp, if I can remember the name and good luck spelling it or remembering the intersections. What's wrong with maybe Huron Ramp or Fountain Plaza Ramp?

Chris
Chris

Does main place mall have to still exist in 2019?

Chris
Chris

Straying off topic, but...

Long Term is right, but Central Terminal as a hub is a little too long term. Your going to take public transportation to get dropped off in the middle of nowhere?

The bus terminal should be a location at the end of the metro rail and house the following:

Metro Rail, Metro Bus, Amtrak, Priviate Buslines (mega, greyhound, etc.)massive parking garage and an airport link bus that loops (should be every half hour or less).

Ideally it would be great to reactive the terminal where the NFTA houses the metro cars.

grad94
grad94

yeah, the city did real well with the ground floor retail that they promised us when they tore down the hurst building for a ramp garage on huron.

and then there's this:

"The City wants to replace the 1,000 parking spaces that will be "lost" when the Main Place parking ramp reverts to private ownership in 2019."

so where in the buffalo code does it say that parking spaces are like public housing units - you can't eliminate one without providing another? i guess it's official policy: parking is sacred, buildings are expendable. if only owners had had to replace every square foot of offices, retail, etc., that they tore down during the years of bulldozer worship.

don't get me wrong, this lot is crying out for a higher and better use. but if we're going to build 1000 parking spaces at enormous cost, let those who think they're so necessary pay market rate for them.

sbrof
sbrof

lets hope it turns out better than the mixed use Augsburger Lot...

Lego1981
Lego1981

Oh man, we are trusting the 'City' to chose what's best for this lot???? OMG!!! You all should know what we will end up by now....A PARKING GARAGE ONLY!!!! The city doesn't know how to build a mix use 'Cool' building. We have to leave it up for a private developer to build on the entire lot or we are all screwed.

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

I think you may have answered your own question.

Crazy concept: by what about "preserving by relocating" one of Buffalo's at-risk buildings/facades (Bethlehem Office Building?)that would give some real character (which we can't seem to do with new builds) to downtown?

JohnQBuffalo
JohnQBuffalo

Longterm, its obvious that the Bus Terminal belongs with a reactivated Central Terminal. The Central Terminal should be our multi-modal station if we can get light rail extended to it.

However, we really need to think of Ellicott, Swan, Michigan and Broadway as a college campus attracting live, work and learn type amenities. A public library fits perfectly. College Library's for ECC and UB that specialize in particular subjects that the Public Library wouldnt approach are perfect. Bookstores and inexpensive cafes / restaurants / grocery stores are perfect.

Businesses that need part time college kids are perfect.

Inexpensive apartments in addition to the AllingsCory building are essential.

WHY DOES BUFFALO JUST THINK PARKING GARAGE AND APARTMENTS?

NOT TO OFFEND PRIMATES BUT WHAT ARE THEY APES? CANT THEY LEARN FROM TERMINI, THEY CANT LEARN FROM THE LARKIN DISTRICT AND COME UP WITH A VALUE ADDED CONCEPT TO SELL FOR AN ENTIRE DISTRICT! ARE THEY SO INCOMPETENT AND IGNORANT OR JUST PLAIN STUPID PATRONAGE LACKIES THAT THEY CANNOT THINK BEYOND 1 SINGLE CITY BLOCK AND BEYOND 1 SINGLE DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY AT A TIME.

JohnQBuffalo
JohnQBuffalo

Why, I wonder can Buffalo never think of a big picture?

Whats the big picture? Give an example:

Well take the Buffalo Public Library for example.

Its quite obvious that the ECC needs a library and UB needs a downtown library for medical, dental and pharmaceutical sciences.

Its also quite obvious that both need a bookstore and a Barnes&Noble or a Borders would make a great addition to the downtown UB/ECC corridor.

Its also quite obvious that downtown businesses and downtown students need a powerful amenity that the suburbs dont offer. I call them mobile offices and conference rooms. Whether your a student or a business person everyone downtown wants needs a temporary place for their cell phones and laptops to either study or conduct business meetings.

THESE 3 THINGS COULD QUADRUPLE THE SPACE THAT THE BUFFALO PUBLIC LIBRARY INHABITS NOW.

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