BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Buffalo Planning Board has signed off on developer Gerry Buccheit's plan to demolish the vacant Freezer Queen warehouse on the Outer Harbor and replace it with a 23 story tower, with up to 200 apartments.

The blueprints also include two restaurants, a fitness center, a nightclub, and on-site parking for 600 cars.

Despite opposition from one planning board member, the full board voted to approve the environmental aspect of the project, as well as site plans for the demolition of the warehouse and the construction of the tower itself.

The plan, which Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown supports, now has to be approved by the Buffalo Common Council, which could happen as early as next week.

"We needed to put a tower out there with a significant number of people, so we can create a certain amount of mass and they're not alone out there," Buccheit said. "And there's enough people to support a restaurant, the boating facilities and the rest of the infrastructure we hope to build."

The Freezer Queen plant was built in 1927 and was used to manufacture processed food and later store the frozen dinners in a gigantic warehouse.

Preservationists recently objected to Buccheit's plan, saying the building could be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Art Giacalone, a lawyer and one of the loudest voices in opposition to the project, said he hopes the Common Council will put a stop to the project.

"I think it's outrageous that this project was approved without doing an Environmental Impact Statement, a real environmental study," Giacalone said. "Especially when it's located on as important a site as our waterfront."

The old building sits vacant on the Outer Harbor.
The old building sits vacant on the Outer Harbor.