Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Residents, business owners and developers attended a low profile, “private” neighborhood meeting about the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal and redesign in Buffalo, New York last night. At least 50 people from the Penhurst block, the Claremont block, the Granger block and various other locations attended. A representative from Forever Elmwood was also at the meeting. Joel Golombeck, City Councilman for the Elmwood area, was also among the attendees.
The Elmwood Village Hotel is a seven million dollar proposal by Savarino Construction Services Corp. The hotel would be built on the intersection of Elmwood and Forest Aves. in Buffalo. In order for the hotel to be built, the demolition of at least five currently occupied buildings will be required.
Golombeck found out about the proposal just three weeks ago when Sam Savarino of Savarino Construction Services Corp. called Golombeck.
Golombeck said that he was asked, by the City of Buffalo to “approve” the proposal “tomorrow”, (February 28, 2006). When asked to do so Golombeck replied, “That is just not possible. I did not realize how fast tracked this plan was. My first question to Savarino was, did you talk to the neighborhood?”
Golombeck also stated that he would not approve or deny the proposal until a reasonable amount of time was given to the community to make a judgment on the new design.
Golombeck also stated that the City of Buffalo wanted Savarino to obtain both 605 Forest and 607 Forest for the proposal, but, according to Golombeck, Savarino “does not want to do that.” In order for the two buildings to be included in the development, Savarino will have to apply for a C-2 zoning permit. It is unknown if an attempt will be made to obtain those properties or make the zoning changes.
Wendy Pierce of Forever Elmwood stated that she had found out about the proposal only “two weeks ago from today.” She also stated that the original design “felt too massive.” Pierce also stated that she wanted to “speak more with the block clubs and residents” around the area.
Ms. pierce also stated that “other options” for parking will be looked into “if possible.”
The new design will have less retail space and now has at lease three conference rooms. Parking has been increased to a total of fifty-five spaces, both underground and above.
Rocco Termini, a Buffalo developer also attended the meeting still stating that the hotel would “destroy Elmwood’s urban streetscape.” Mr. Termini has proposed a second development that would not include a hotel, but increase retail shops to at least seven.
The City of Buffalo Planning Board is still scheduled to meet at 8:00a.m Tuesday. The Common Council is still expected to meet at 2:00p.m. on the same day.
Joel Golombeck is expected to attend both meetings.