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Does more development = less parking downtown?

Mike Desmond

When downtown Buffalo was at its lowest, parking wasn't a problem. Now, with development and the Green Code not having mandatory parking requirements, the challenges are increasing.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Ciminelli Real Estate is planning an affordable housing complex at 201 Ellicott, with 201 units. It would fill a surface parking lot that currently provides 400 spaces, which will now offer parking only for customers in the Braymiller's Market to be included in the project.

Ruth Bryant lives in Pratt-Willert, within walking distance. Bryant said she likes the market because she spends a lot of time driving around shopping.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"I make a circle of all the things I need to do," Bryant said. "So you get into your car and you got this map and go to the burbs, pick up stuff. You got Wegmans over on Amherst Street, but you still have to drive. And the nice thing is that with all of the pre-planning meetings, I think Ciminelli listened because I can see some of the things people were talking about."

This $50 million project replaces a much more elaborate housing plan with underground parking, as other high-end developments came on line.

"The project has evolved to now include an affordable housing component, 201 affordable units, and by affordable we mean at a price point that is accessible by many people of varying economic backgrounds." said project spokesman Matt Davison. "So the average rent for the one- and two-bedroom units that will be part of this project is between $660 and $1,260."

Across from the site is the Lafayette Hotel. Owner Rocco Termini said there has to be more parking.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"I'm not opposed to the project as such, the housing or the market," said Termini. "What I am oppposed to is the fact that they are eliminating 400 parking spaces from that block and putting absolutely no parking in the project. The project needs a minimum of an additional 500 parking spaces."

Termini freely admits it would hurt the Lafayette, which often needs large numbers of parking spaces for events.

Asked about the idea that the many millennials living downtown don't need parking, he points to a high-tech complex he owns in North Buffalo. He says the overwhelmingly millennial-age workforce fills 175 parking spaces.

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