Carl Paladino and his Ellicott Development over recent years have purchased a lot of property, many buildings in the vicinity of the Perry Project housing complex, on both sides of the Niagara Thruway, and many that are in very bad shape or essentially abandoned.
Now Paladino has proposed to take over the 53 empty buildings and vacant land around them for $1, citing the bad conditions of the structures. That would give him leverage for any development in that entire area.
The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority owns Perry. BMHA Chair David Rodriguez said the authority has been approached about other properties.
"With Mr. Paladino and Ellicott Development, we obviously will consider what he has to say," said Rodriguez. "He has invested a lot of money in that area and we appreciate that. But as you know, in the Perry development area, that property is becoming more and more desirable for development. So we'll consider his request and send him something back in writing."
Rodriguez said the BMHA also has had "other offers come through by way of letters of interest on other properties." He said Paladino's offer will be brought to the Board of Commissioners and probably have an executive discussion, behind closed doors, on it.
The board meets next week and sold the former Kensington Heights highrise complex to nearby Erie County Medical Center. The hospital was before the city Planning Board on Monday, with its plans for a large parking lot, as it goes forward with campus development that is taking up parking lots at the hospital tower.
Rodriguez said the board has been looking to develop a plan for the system's future.
"What we're looking to do in Perry and all our properties, the board is going to be getting together for a strategic plan, to look at all of our assets and properties and see how we can move the housing authority forward and provide the best benefits for our residents," he said.
Paladino said the offer is a gift.
“It would cost, from what I understand their study, $10 million to knock the buildings down. There’s 53 buildings, two and three story buildings that would have to come down. I would be saving them money by taking responsibility for that,” he said.
Paladino said he could see future buildings being used there for mixed-use development.
“The Perry project has been a disgusting eyesore on the first ward for decades. It’s, in my opinon, one of the major obstacles to further development in that South Main Street area,” he said.
Paladino has not given specifics for future plans for the buildings. He said that’s because he doesn’t want to spend “a great deal of money” preparing plans and presentations unless he’s given a preferred developers status to protect Ellicott Development's interests.