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Plans ready for Central Park Plaza site

WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

What could be the largest private housing development in Buffalo in years is close to starting construction on the 27 acres in North Buffalo, the site of the former Central Park Plaza.

Senior Vice President John Ciminelli of developer LP Ciminelli said heavy equipment should be on the site this summer doing site preparation for major residential construction next year.

Ciminelli noted this will be a $60-million transit-oriented development close to the Amherst Metro Rail Station.

WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond
Citizens review photos of the future of Central Park Plaza.

The developer believes it has the potential to uplift the surrounding residential areas in the Fillmore-Leroy community. 

"It's the largest housing, single housing development in the City of Buffalo that I'm aware of, that hasn't been done by either a government agency or the Housing Authority," Ciminelli said.

Tuesday night Ciminelli appeared at a meeting of the community group FLARE to talk about his plans. Those attending had a chance to offer opinions on potential building designs. Some designs attracted masses of green stickers of approval.

"A primary draw area (for the new housing is) the immediate neighborhood and the boundaries. It broadens out from there. But, we're creating a new housing development that we feel as though will be a local, city-wide, and even a regional draw," Ciminelli said.

Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond
Central Park Plaza awaits redevelopment.

Ciminelli said the site was once a quarry which was filled in with apparently anything available although nothing very environmentally dangerous. This summer's work will haul some of that away.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.