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Ellicott Development transforms Elmwood brownfield site

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Not all brownfield sites are massive, former industrial facilities. A notable example in the city of Buffalo is 905 Elmwood Avenue, where a former gas station had become an environmental hazard.

Ellicott Development will soon start renting apartments at the cleaned-up site at Elmwood and Delavan, in the heart of the Elmwood Village. According to state figures, nearly 6,700 tons of contaminated soil were hauled away from the location.

"It was bad," said Ellicott Development CEO William Paladino. 

"We were down probably about 14 feet from property line to property line. But, fortunately for us that the new building we were building there did have a basement called out for it."

There will be state tax credits for Ellicott Development for cleanup and construction costs.

"The previous owner never really maintained any of the tanks in the site itself, from a contamination standpoint," Paladino said. 

"The DEC was to the point that they, I don't want to say forced him to sell, but they were really coming down hard on him to do something and clean up the site and therefore he decided to sell the sites to us."

State Assemblyman Sean Ryan said the tax credit program works relatively well, but there remain some sites where cleanup for re-use would be too expensive, citing property at Delavan and Grant. Paladino said his firm has decided not to do some projects because the clean-up cost would be too high.

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.