ECHDC, Benderson, Philips Lytle, and Parking

20 Jul

I know that underground parking is expensive, but this sort of pisses me off.  Then again, the parking here is next to the elevated 190, so who really cares? With that said, anything on that parcel that doesn’t look like a Communist apartment block would be a massive improvement.  Therefore, this is a massive improvement.

Some progress on something would be nice, and *shock horror* retail & services! OMG! Maybe Dave Franczyk will block it because it may harm the snack shack’s business.

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9 Responses to “ECHDC, Benderson, Philips Lytle, and Parking”

  1. Please Follow Your Own Rules July 20, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    The controversies about the RFP process aside – I have serious concerns about the design of this project. ECHDC has established both a modified master plan which illustrates a donovan block development that includes ground (and possibly additional) floor buildouts to at least Scott Street and Main Street as well as design guidelines that require mandatory build-to lines and active ground floor uses at the street, including for the Donovan block. See the following document:

    http://eriecanalharbor.com/pdf/CanalSide/MGPP101210exhibitsCD_part1.pdf

    For the buildout shown in the picture above to have been proposed by Benderson – the developer who has been involved in the planning of this project for YEARS – is a BIG PROBLEM. It seems that on the very first privately developed project in Canalside, ECHDC is allowing its preferred developer to throw the rules out the window and build whatever they want. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. Hopefully they go through a design review process that modifies the buildout, but for someone like Benderson, who SHOULD know better, to even propose this buildout indicates to me that there is a big broken problem at ECHDC. Why does ECHDC have no one on staff who is an urban planner or urban designer to lend expertise to project review?!

    This isn’t even about personal opinion – this is about what many have feared about Benderson from the get go – they don’t know how to do urban design and ECHDC will essentially let them construct whatever they please. We can refer to this project as “Exhibit A.” Outrageous!

  2. Andrew Kulyk July 20, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    It just amazes me, that within hours of the plan being unveiled, the haters are already out in full force, blasting the proposal as being “too suburban” and “not built out to the street”. Make no mistake, moving this project off the dime is a huge WIN for Canalside, and if shovels actually go in the ground, finally some real development activity from Levy and the ECHDC that doesn’t involve portable toilets and mime shows.

    My next question is, what is the over/under as to when we will see the Esmonde column throwing dirt all over this plan? When will Goldman go into shrieking hysterics, with his myopic thinking that every morsel of food bought and consumed at those restaurants in the building is one less dollar spent at his businesses uptown? When does Tielman file the article 78, charging that the architecture and facade fails to adequately replicate Ye Olde Buffalo of 1865? When does Fisher blast out his 2500 word Artvoice tome, claiming once again that the population of Buffalo in 2030 will be somewhere in the 70K range, therefore such a development plan is “unsustainable” and must be stopped. 

    This is Buffalo. We aren’t allowed to have nice things. For real.

    • Alan Bedenko July 20, 2011 at 8:11 am #

      That’s all well and good, but the parking should be under, not around, the building. I’m frankly appalled, and it calls into question the design and architectural standards that have been promised for the project.

      I’m not saying don’t build it, I’m saying it’s shameful.

  3. James July 20, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Alan, Thank you for a fairly complete story about this development. I don’t know why Andrew is in in such a titter. Maybe he should have slept in for a few more minutes.
    It looks to me that the lower parking level is below grade and the upper level at or slightly above grade. It’s difficult to ascertain with the limited detail.
    Hopefully, there would be pedestrian access to the building from Washington Street also.

  4. Fat Tony July 20, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    You get bad ideas when you have a tainted process to favor Benderson. No other developers submitted which meant no other creativity or innovation. Often times, much can be learned from other proposals even if those teams aren’t picked. It’s one of the advantages of a legitimate process.

  5. James July 20, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    BTW the Adi – Broadway project has some similarities in that most people just want the Aldi store to be built closer to the street / Broadway. They want connectivity where shoppers could walk from store to store and not get into their cars to drive from store to store. Park once.
    The Broadway site is a great opportunity.

  6. Please Follow Your Own Rules July 20, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    My personal opinions of the design aside – considering the master plan and design guidelines that have already been established – this development is not legal without variances (though I’m sure they have some “friends” in city hall as well)

  7. Chris Ostrander July 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    I agree with Andrew AND Alan on this one. This building is, without doubt, a win for Canalside. Private development that is allegedly supposed to begin driving more investment in the project. That is the idea, right? Instead of building and filling the plan is to let businesses come one at a time, correct? In that case this is a huge win, it is a large, “period style” (except in Tielman’s book) building with tons of office space and room for one, may two restaurants (aka THINGS TO DO).

    I will say the parking is sad to see. If the lot could have been built underground it would certainly add to the look of the building and the neighborhood in general. Alan does make a good point, some of it will be blocked by the 190 anyway. Still, the parking shouldn’t wrap around above street level. Poor choice on that portion.

  8. Gabe July 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Ew, brand spankin’ new parking blight. It’s like 1985 all over again…

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