Breaking News
More () »

Buffalo Common Council votes to take ownership of 2 Cobblestone district buildings

The 7-2 vote means the city will move forward with acquiring two cobblestone district buildings through eminent domain. Current owner vows to appeal.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Council President Darius Pridgen and University District councilman Rasheed Wyatt were the two no-votes when it was time to vote on the matter of eminent domain for two cobblestone district buildings

However, in the end, the council passed the motion to determine the city had sufficient evidence and grounds to move forward with an eminent domain proceeding  

The effort for the city to take over 110 and 118 South Park Ave has been led by Fillmore District councilman Mitch Nowakowski since September 2022. 

With the common council vote, the process for the city to take the properties over moves to the next phase. 

"Now the city of Buffalo will go through the courts to show the judge that the city was able to adhere to all protocols through the eminent domain procedure," Nowakowski said. "Then move this building into the city's inventory."

If the city obtains the buildings after the looming court battle, a redevelopment RFP will be released for developers to submit. 

Building owner Darryl Carr wasn't surprised by the council vote. 

"They were against me from the start," Carr said. "They had their sights set on doing this."

Carr said he will appeal and that his focus is on his proposed Unity Tower project. 

In February, housing court Judge Patrick Carney approved a demolition order submitted by Carr that had been lingering in litigation for years. 

Carr is hoping the appeal in the housing court case can be ruled upon before the eminent domain hearing.

"They want to take my property," Carr said over the phone. "I've been there operating a business in his district for 25 years, I'm the face of cobblestone."

Carr also operates the Cobblestone Barr & Grill at the corner of South Park Ave and Mississippi St. 

If the city wins the initial court decisions, the case elevates to the state supreme court, where financial compensation for Carr's property is determined. 

The buildings would be appraised and Carr has at minimum one year to challenge the appraised value. 

"I can't believe I'm going through this," Carr said. "Nobody should have to go through this."

Councilman Nowakowski maintains that this was the last resort the city could take in order to save the civil war-era buildings. 

"We were really left with no other remedy," Nowakowski said. "There are going to be brighter days for the cobblestone district and these buildings will be an adaptive reuse we can all be proud of."

Before You Leave, Check This Out