For nearly a century, there has been a parking ramp on Swan Street between Washington and Ellicott in downtown Buffalo, a key asset for renting space in nearby office buildings. Now, it is closed and the structure is failing. Quick decisions are required on replacement.
Ellicott Development closed the ramp two months ago, when attempts to strengthen the structure just could not do it, after too many years and too much road salt.
CEO William Paladino said that leaves the developer without the parking spaces the building represents for tenants in a section of downtown not loaded with parking, particularly cheaper parking.
"Lot of the drivers to that ramp are our own tenancies that we put in the Ellicott Square and other surrounding buildings that we do own," Paladino said. "It's definitely a necessity to have that amount of parking back in this area because, like I said, it's a very difficult area to find parking, especially with the new Cimininelli project and the Adam ramp being all filled up."
Rates have been going up and spaces going down since Ciminelli Real Estate closed the 201 Ellicott lot to make way for a major apartment building.
"It definitely is an attraction for tenants and it's been one or our main parking facilities for many, many years and it puts us in a little bit of a difficult situation, currently," he said. "We're going to look to develop a plan that going to, hopefully, replace that with a new type of structure that will be brought up to current standards and last for a long, long time."
Paladino said the replacement building will likely be be more than just another ramp. Perhaps it might be something like the parking ramp, hotel and apartment structure the company just opened at Pearl and Tupper. He said a decision on replacement needs to be done ASAP.
"It's going to be very difficult on us for the entire times that this ramp is down and that we have limited parking in this area," he said, "but we have some play in other places. We're making other accomodations, but they are not long-term accomodations. They will be short-term accomodations until we can get something up and running."
Ellicott Development is asking the city Preservation Board to approve demolition of what its consultants say is a shot building.