Tag Archives: Benderson

ECHDC, Benderson, Philips Lytle, and Parking

20 Jul

I know that underground parking is expensive, but this sort of pisses me off. ┬áThen 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. ┬áTherefore, 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.


Correct. Sarasota is not #Buffalo

20 Aug

Shorter Bruce Fisher:

In growing, business-friendly Sarasota, Benderson is paying for the privilege of building something.

In shrinking, business-hostile Buffalo, Benderson needs loads of incentives in its quiver just to attract someone – anyone – to something it wants to build.

While Fisher’s article is dismissive and critical of Benderson, Canal Side, and ECHDC, and while it advocates for a park along quite literally every sliver of dry land within rock-throwing distance from Lake Erie or the Niagara River, the point he completely ignores is why Benderson would be spending big money to build on the Gulf of Mexico, and looking for handouts and incentives to build in Buffalo.

As an aside, isn’t it interesting how ArtVoice commentators are oftentimes individuals who have directly injected themselves into the controversies about which they’re commentating? First Bruce Jackson, now Bruce Fisher. Fisher who, whilst Deputy County Executive under Giambra, helped to obtain Canal Side subsidy money from county government. Fisher, who is a plaintiff in the Goldman v. Bass Pro, ECHDC suit.

Frankly put, Florida isn’t hostile towards businesses. I’m not saying New York should emulate everything Florida does, because Florida’s meteoric boom has turned into a massive bust. We’ve just had an even malaise for 30 years, and there’s something positive about that when everywhere else is failing. There are many reasons why Sarasota is an attractive location for people and business, the weather and setting being among them. But so is the business climate, and – as Fisher points out – the fact that Sarasota actually has a plan.

Erie County has no plan, and attempts to begin the process of a countywide regional planning board last year were met with scoffing and derision from a county government that above all cherishes the status quo. We can’t have a deliberative process because no one wants to deliberate.

So, we have a hostile business environment, a bureaucracy and nomenklatura that would make the Soviets proud, development and planning by litigation, and a chronic disease called nostalgiitis. It’s not that we’re fearful of success, nor is it that we’re content with our stagnation. It’s just that we don’t even know how to begin talking to one another about rational ways to help ourselves without waiting for Albany or Washington to fix everything for us. It’s about how we cling closely to what we perceive to be the good old days of Buffalo and WNY, ignoring the very possibility that with some changes to the status quo, we may be able to create newer, better days.

The saddest part of this is that (a) it wouldn’t be that hard to make some changes to make it easier for businesses to start up and operate; and (b) there are thousands of other municipalities throughout the country from which we can learn.

They Paved the Brownfield, Put up a Parking Lot

20 Jun

The Amherst Town Board has voted 5-2 to approve Benderson’s plan for a lifestyle center-type mixed-use development on the former site of the Amherst gun club on Maple near UB North. This project has been the subject of a NIMBY lawsuit which will hopefully be resolved shortly.

The lifestyle center will have offices, residential, hotel, and retail on 275,000 square feet near Millersport, the I-290, and UB North. These types of developments are popular throughout the country and the closest thing to it we have here is a couple of restaurants and shops at the Walden Galleria that you can access from an exterior sidewalk.

While I’m sure the urbanists are as aghast as the NIMBY folks, malls and plazas are Western New York’s main streets. At least with a lifestyle center, you get them outdoors and walking, rather than driving from the BJs on one end of the plaza to the Wal*Mart at the other end.

So yes, I believe that the replacement of a leaden brownfield that used to be a shooting club with an upscale mixed-use development is a great idea.

And while I’m on the subject of NIMBYism, let me bring up one point with regards to the proposed Wegmans in Clarence near Roll on Transit.

If the parcel fronting Transit is zoned “major arterial” but too small to actually accommodate a major arterial project like a Wegmans supermarket, then it makes sense to change the Master Plan from time to time in order to make necessary accommodations. Like I said before, you don’t move into a house from which you can see Transit Road and then complain that Transit Road is going to have big projects on it.

In other words, build them both.

But None of It Equals a Signed Contract

14 Dec