BUFFALO, N.Y. — Opposition to a proposed grocery store and apartment building in downtown Buffalo is starting to heat up.
The developer behind the project, Ciminelli Real Estate, would get rid of hundreds of parking spots.
201 Ellicott Street is a city-owned parking lot.
This was the vision for the property just a few years ago -- an Orchard Fresh store, apartments and underground parking.
But according to Ciminelli, plans changed to building a Braymiller grocery store, apartments, and more of an emphasis on ride sharing and bike sharing, with no underground parking.
That's a problem for prominent Buffalo developer Rocco Termini.
"They have no parking, they're eliminating 400 parking spaces, building 200 apartments and a grocery store with 60 employees, and they have no parking. How does that make any sense?" Rocco Termini said.
And just to be clear, the project would include some on-street parking, but nowhere near the amount of parking there is now.
The Lafayette Hotel, which Termini owns, is across the street from 201 Ellicott.
Termini says many of his employees and customers use this lot, and he's concerned about where they would park, if the spots here are taken away.
"I'd prefer they would build what they originally proposed four years ago," Termini said, "it's like a bait and switch."
But the executive director of the city's office of strategic planning, Brendan Mehaffy, says they're not going back.
And a spokesperson for Ciminelli Real Estate says parking won't be a problem and that "multiple recent studies have cited an abundance of surface and garage parking in and around Downtown Buffalo. This project has been designed to reflect that inventory."
The city is also still in the process of adding new metered parking spots downtown -- and that about 80 have been added so far, in this immediate area.
But Termini has already made up his mind about the project -- if it's actually built.
"We'll see them in court, there will be a lawsuit I'm not going to standby and have the back of the Lafayette destroyed by this proposed development," Termini said.
Termini went on the record calling that proposed project a "monstrosity," and clarified that any lawsuit would not be against, the city but would involve Ciminelli Real Estate.
The plans at 201 Ellicott still need to be approved by the city's planning and zoning boards.
Ciminelli Real Estate says it wants to begin construction in the fall and finish in 2021.
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