Dispute brewing over rundown buildings in Elmwood Village

Jul 6, 2018

Two timeworn buildings in the heart of Elmwood Village may spark another test of the city's Green Code development rules.

Ellicott Development wants to knock down the buildings on West Delavan Avenue to build newer housing.

But Daniel Sack, vice president of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture and Culture, says the Green Code requires approval of replacement structures before there can be a demolition.

"In national historic registered districts, they must have an approved site plan for what they want to replace those buildings," Sack said. "I don't think the Department of Permits and Inspections realizes this. They will find out by activists on Elmwood Avenue and the city and hopefully they will follow the law."

Ellicott Development CEO William Paladino, whose company built a mixed use structure nearby, said the buildings can't be saved. "The previous owner of these properties pretty much let the properties deteriorate to a point that we don't feel we can reasonably rehab them to, I guess, the 905 [Elmwood] standard, which we have next door."

Paladino said he wasn't sure whether the new residences would be for rent or sale. He added that there is a shortage of for-sale properties in the area.

"We are constructing them in a way ... that we could go either direction," he said.

Sack took issue with Paladino's description of the old residential buildings as a storehouse for auto parts.

He said that if the developer owned the buildings but did not take proper care of them, "then that's on Paladino and that's on the city for not enforcing the building codes."