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I Read the News Today…

The Ciminelli proposal

The Ciminelli proposal

The J.W. Pitts proposal

—Somehow former Common Council President Jim Pitts’ proposal to develop a crappy-looking Wingate Inn attached to Shanghai Red’s beside the Erie Basin Marina has been selected as a the preferred alternative by the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency. Ciminelli Development put forth a much more ambitious, mixed-use concept that, supporters claim, would generate far greater tax revenue for the city.

You can look at more pictures and read the howling over at BuffaloRising and BuffaloPundit.

Ciminelli’s plan was dismissed because it exceeded the RFP’s size limitations—guidelines that the Ciminelli team claims they were never told about.  Common Councilmembers Franczyk, LoCurto, and Kearns, who sit on the BURA board, cried foul, but to no avail: Mayor Byron Brown and members of his administration, who comprise a majority of the BURA board, wanted to give the project to J.W. Pitts Properties. Nobody seems to know why, not yet anyway.

Oh well.

—State Senator Bill Stachowski is not going to be chair of the Senate Finance Committee after all. Instead, the position that Stachowski thought was in the bag will go to Carl Kruger of Brooklyn as a reward for threatening to caucus with Republicans and holding back support for Malcolm Smith as majority leader. Back in October, when a poll showed former Buffalo Police Detective Dennis Delano 13 points ahead of Stachowski, state Democrats rushed to Stachowski’s aid. Antoine Thompson, who was a central figure in the Democrats’ effort to gain a majority in the state senate, stood beside Stachowski on Court Street while the veteran senator explained what a devastating loss his seniority would be for Western New Yorkers.

Oh well.

—M&T Bank’s Robert Wilmers, now doing a turn as chief of Empire State Development Corporation, apparently thrilled the Buffalo News’ editorial board with his observation during a talk on Tuesday that the state ought to invest in big projects in Niagara Falls, our region’s architectural treasures, and Buffalo’s waterfront.

Oh boy.

  • WNYmind

    The Wingate Inn is much more in step with Buffalo. It may be half full most of the year, versus a 80% empty project like Ciminelli proposed. It is ironic that some folks will cheer for the opening of the new Salvators hotel on Transit as a marvel, and then poo poo a similar design by Pitts. Go to the Salvators hotel on Transit. It is a nice hotel. What Pitts wants to build is the same and well withing the scale and amenity level that Buffalo can handle.

    I know some will try to kill this project. Business as usual. But, please, get a life.

  • After reading all three things on this post, I wonder why I even try to stay positive about the future of WNY.

  • huh?

    WNYmind, What’s youris for saying “It may be half full most of the year, versus a 80% empty project like Ciminelli proposed”?

    What should make anyone think the Wingate would be 50% full most of the year and the other plan would be only 20% full?

  • WNYmind

    Salvators hotel will not have 100% occupancy, and the restaurant is better than the chain on the lake. So, the Wingate will not be full either. But, smaller is better in this case. Let people enjoy the lake without an empty white elephant blocking the view for once.

  • WNYMind – I’m usually not one to jump on the bitching-about-architecture bandwagon, but Waterfront Village is such an utter, longstanding design abortion that it would be nice to have one – just one – nice structure on it.

    But given that “nice” is subjective, I’ll add that there are undertones of political favoritism at work here that make this more than just bitching about architecture, but bitching about typical Buffalo favoritism.

  • Phrank

    The Wingate Inn would look great on Transit Road, but on the waterfront? Isn’t it just a long wall to block off the view? The Ciminelli plan is higher, but a smaller footprint and the tall part is angled to minimize the wall-effect. If you’re worried about height, tell me how you’re supposed to see over a 4 story hotel? Might as give it some more height. I can’t see over the 2 story Shanghai Reds – so don’t tell me about height here. That’s the trouble with the Waterfront Village – long, squat concrete bunker-like slabs that really block off the marina. Let’s get some height, some hotel with retail and office attached instead of this suburban Wingate design.

  • Micky Mouse City – Brown Style

    Actions like this give ex pats no reason to come back. Buffalo hasn’t changed. You folks continue to reelect the same nuts jobs over and over again.

    Buffalo had a chance – and they lost it.

  • WNYmind

    Why overbuild the waterfront. Buffalo is not a big city or tourist destination. A sleepy little motel on the water is about right for a dying city. Buffalo should develop at an appropriate scale. If the city ever had the demand to build something bigger, someone with money would buy the Wingate, demo it, and build something new. That’s how it works in real cities. Build what you need now, expand or rebuild later. It makes more sense than adding an oversized project to the property. Build a modest hotel, make some profit, then decide if there is demand for something bigger in a decade or two. The alternative is to have another empty building in Buffalo.

  • Micky Mouse City – Brown Style

    WNYmind, er, Byron Brown, what are you smoking? You’re the nut job expat’s look at and cringe. Former Buffalonians want to move back to Buffalo. Most read every little thing about their hometown. But decisions like this – seeing corrupt politics @ work – make us sick.

    Grow up Buffalo. And WNYmind, stfu.

  • buffalo lover

    James pitts the bow tie wearing former common council president was heavily involved in James Management in the 1990s, which built many substandard newbuilds in the city and refused to fix them when owners complained.
    Dont let the Wingate ruin the Waterfront.

  • kanye west

    James Pitts is just another self-proclaimed savior windbag full of himself, out to line his silk pockets and buy gold rims w/ our money. Another sucker on the bottom of the sinking boat: Buffalo. Thanks Mayor Brown for showing more clever leadership in patting Pitts on the ass with this one…Not surprising, yet still disgusting nonetheless.

  • sailor

    No building on the waters edge should be more than 4 stories.The cinimilli project is by far the ugliest thing going,but that’s not what bothers me—it’s the 10 stories.