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Waterfront development plan examined for City of Tonawanda

Newly installed City of Tonawanda Mayor John White says, 'new concept, new property, new people coming into the city.'

CITY OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. — With the successful waterfront development in North Tonawanda, another development team is ready to take the plunge in the neighboring City of Tonawanda.

This planned project is set for the Gas-Town neighborhood with a six-story complex in the mix.

Newly installed City of Tonawanda Mayor John White says, "new concept, new property, new people coming into the city."

That's why the new mayor is excited by the prospect of this project dubbed "the Elli" for Ellicott Creek. The first phase on Fillmore Avenue with a six-story building holding 130 apartments, along with lower floor space for a restaurant and retail.

And it all ties in with the overall development we've seen in North Tonawanda, where the Gateway Harbor Center, the Remington Lofts, and restaurants bring in the summer crowds.

Michael Conroe runs Elev8 Architecture, which is one of the managers of the project. He says: "Quite honestly, we probably wouldn't be looking at this project if the City of North Tonawanda wasn't as successful as it is in those summertime months. To take that success that they have on the other side of the river and bring it to the City of Tonawanda, it's been a need."

Conroe, who teamed up with the Carubba Company and a Utah-based firm on this project, says there may be a phase two of "The Elli" on a city-abandoned portion of Young Street as well.

Conroe says: "We want to do the first phase of the project over on Fillmore Street. See what's appropriate, see what works, see what's successful there, and then apply that knowledge over to Phase Two across the street."

City officials, despite their enthusiasm with the idea of new development, say they do understood there will be some concerns from neighbors, especially with a project this large in this area. That's why they say they'll try to include their input at every step of the planning process.

City Council President Jenna Koch says: "I think if you ask the developer, he's changed his drawings a few times to accommodate the residents, and those discussions will continue. Their feedback is absolutely very important."

Koch says it was important to the late City Councilman Tom Newman, who recently passed away, to make sure the public had a seat at the planning table on this project and others to come.