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November 21, 2006

Old deeds threaten Buffalo, NY hotel development

Old deeds threaten Buffalo, NY hotel development

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Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Buffalo, New York — Buffalo, New York developers have been stymied by old real estate deeds.

The prospective Elmwood Village Hotel may be scuttled and businesses now located there may be forced to move.

Frustrations over property located in an area once known as “Granger Estates” circulate around a clause in the original deeds over land divided by then-owner Erastus Granger in the early 1800’s.

According to the documents, “no business establishment of any kind whatsoever” shall ever be constructed on the property, and they shall forever be exclusively for residential use only. Also prohibited are barns, farms and stables.

Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Companies, the prospective hotel developer, announced that his legal research team found the restrictions on properties located between 1109 and 1121 Elmwood Avenue which also stated in part that “no businesses, hospitality establishment of anykind whatsoever” shall ever be permitted to be built on the property.

Savarino, whom is expected to contest the restrictions, said that his company could have ignored the findings, but that, “we can’t risk the future of a multimillion-dollar project on the hope they wouldn’t be discovered. Our opponents would have had a field day if they’d surfaced after the fact.”

Savarino said his attorneys and researchers are anticipated to determine “exactly what weight the restrictions carry and if there’s a way for the courts to negate them.”

Existing businesses are also jeopardized.

Hans Mobius, owner of some of the restricted properties upon which a carriage house is built, said, he wasn’t aware of any restrictions, and “never had a reason to research the deed and title documents.” He confidently added that, “the lawyers can get this taken care of.”

Other threatened businesses include Don Apparel, H.O.D. Tattoo, Forest Plaza Art Gallery and Allentown Music.

Sources

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November 16, 2006

Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale \”by owner\”

Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”

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Recent Developments
Original Story

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Buffalo, New York — A proposed hotel that was supposed to be built at the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo, New York is apparently off the table. The former proposal was going to be called The Elmwood Village Hotel and would have consisted of 72 rooms and cost between $7 to $10 million American dollars to build.

A for sale sign has gone up on site of the proposed Elmwood Village Hotel location.

Today several unknown individuals were seen removing a sign that was dedicated to the “Elmwood Village Gateway,” which signifies the beginning of the Elmwood Village at the formerly proposed project’s location.

Nearly an hour later the men replaced the sign with a different and unexpected sign: “For Sale: 5 commercial parcels and 1 carriage house, By: Owner.” Those 5 “parcels” are 1109-1121 Elmwood and 999 Forest Avenue, which is located in an illegal alley, according to the City of Buffalo, behind the 5 other properties on Elmwood. Hans Mobius owns all properties named in the sale.

Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Companies never owned the properties and has repeatadly told Wikinews in exclusive interviews that he still had a “contract to buy the properties” and on October 2, 2006 told Wikinews in an exclusive interview that he “extended” the “agreement to purchase the property[s] and will have it under contract for what we hope is a sufficient period of time.”

“He [Mobius] is undoubtedly concerned because he has lost some tenants and is a bit impatient. I think he has properly portrayed the situation,” said Savarino in an exclusive interview with Wikinews.

Savarino also says that there may be “legal issues” to work out now, before anything else can move forward, regarding the proposal.

“There are some legal complexities that must be sorted out before anything can happen there,” added Savarino.

On June 21, 2006, the members of the community in Buffalo, New York surrounding the location of a proposed hotel and members of the “Elmwood Village Gatekeepers,” on Elmwood and Forest Avenues.

The welcome sign was; however, not removed entirely. The sign was placed, facing the same direction of north, on the side of the Forest Plaza Art Gallery, a new art gallery located on the corner of Forest and Elmwood.

Nancy Pollina, owner of Don Apparel which was located at 1109 Elmwood, but closed on October 14, 2006 considers this a possible “victory” in regards to the lawsuit filed against the hotel to stop it from being built, alleging that several laws were broken, including not performing an Environmental Impact Study before the proposal was approved by the city, during its approval and the proposal was “rushed.” Patricia Morris, who operates Don Apparel with Pollina, Angeline Genovese and Evelyn Bencinich, owners of residences on Granger Place which abut the rear of the proposed site, Nina Freudenheim, a resident of nearby Penhurst Park, and Sandra Girage, the owner of a two-family residence on Forest Avenue less than a hundred feet from the proposed hotel’s sole entrance and exit driveway, were also plaintiffs in the lawsuit. They filed the suit with a lawyer representing them, Arthur J. Giacalone, on April 25, 2006 in New York State Supreme Court, but the case has never gone to a courtroom.

Giacalone believes that a press release issued in July regarding the project was nothing but a statement to “save face,” but that the placement of the for sale sign might be a way of convincing Savarino to speed up the sale of the properties.

“I thought all along that Savarino’s July press release might be no more than an effort to save face. But we have no way of knowing. Similarly, Mobius might have put the for-sale sign up in an attempt to pressure Savarino into closing the deal. There’s no way to tell,” said Giacalone in an exclusive interview with Wikinews.

In regards to the lawsuit, Giacalone thinks it may now be in “limbo.”

“The lawsuit still sits in limbo,” added Giacalone.

Sources

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October 2, 2006

Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended

Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended

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Monday, October 2, 2006

Buffalo, New York — Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Companies, the development company to be in charge of building the Elmwood Village Hotel at Forest and Elmwood Avenues in Buffalo, New York has told Wikinews in an exclusive interview that the contract to buy the properties from 1109-1121 on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo has been “extended,” but would not elaborate on how long the extension would last.

“We have extended our agreement to purchase the property and will have it under contract for what we hope is a sufficient period of time,” said Savarino.

Latest rendering of the Elmwood Village Hotel

The hotel would require the demolition of the five properties on Forest and would cause several businesses to relocate or close their doors. The hotel will be 72 rooms and will cost at least 7 to 10 million dollars to build. Wyndham Hotels is expected to be the owner/operator of the hotel. The properites are still owned by Hans Mobius. Two other properties, 605 and 607 Forest might also be part of the proposal, but lawsuits have so far stopped any development from taking place.

Savarino also stated in a recent interview with Wikinews that his company may be “about ready for round two” in the process of resubmitting the hotel proposal to the City of Buffalo’s Common Council and Planning Board.

“If we were to go through the re-zoning process again it could be arduous,” said Savarino.

In July, Savarino “withdrew” the proposal which is undergoing a “do-over,” according to Vice President of Savarino Companies, Eva Hassett.

In related news, several residents around the area of the proposed hotel were speculating that current roadwork to repair and add sewer lines on Forest Avenue were part of the construction process for the proposed hotel. Savarino has denied those claims.

“We are certainly not doing any work on the site nor is any work being performed on our behalf or at our direction [in relation to the hotel],” said Savarino.

So far, the proposal has not been resubmitted to the City’s Common Council or Planning board and there is no word on when the proposal will be resubmitted.

Wyndham Hotels, which is owned by Cendant Corporation, has not commented on the proposal despite several attempts to contact them.

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August 14, 2006

Court date \”as needed\” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal

Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal

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Jump to: navigation, search
Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

The latest rendition of the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Buffalo, New York — The preliminary hearing for a lawsuit filed against the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, New York as well as the City of Buffalo has been postponed indefinitely and will take place “as needed” pending the resubmission of the proposal by Savarino Construction also of Buffalo. A request was made to New York State Supreme court Judge Justice Rose Sconiers, the judge to preside over the case, to discuss a “timetable” for resubmission, but the court “decided not to,” said attorney Arthur Giacalone who represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The hotel would require the demolition of at least five properties, 1109-1121 Elmwood and would cause the closure of several businesses. Already, two businesses, Skunk Tail Glass and Six Nations Native American Gift Shop have relocated, outside the Elmwood Strip. Don apparel, H.O.D. Tattoo and Mondo Video still remain on Elmwood; however, Mondo Video is planning on moving to a new location. The hotel will be 72 rooms and will cost at least 7 million dollars to build. Wyndham Hotels is expected to be the owner/operator of the hotel. The properites are currently owned by Hans Mobius. Two other properties, 605 and 607 Forest might also be part of the proposal. 605 Forest is owned by Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. 607 Forest is owned by Mobius.

“There’s no new [court] date. The next appearance will be as needed,” said Giacalone.

The proposal was withdrawn by Savarino on July 13, 2006 to undergo “a do-over” and according to the Buffalo News, “shed the lawsuits” against the proposal; however, so far the proposal has “not yet” been resubmitted, but could be in about a “week.”

“With Council being out of session we have a bit of time [before resubmitting]. [We will] Probably resubmit] in a week or so,” said Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Construction.

“We welcome some discourse on this project and while we realize that, in all likelihood, we will not make everybody happy, we hope we can develop a consensus that what we provide on that corner will be something that is an enhancement to the neighborhood and the community. Better to have that decided (again?) in a public forum and through the approval process than through a debate over points of law in a courtroom,” added Savarino.

Despite the withdraw of the proposal, Giacalone states that the lawsuit his clients filed is still in effect due to the re-zoning of the properties, which he says are still in place and that he is “frustrated” that his client’s “day in court” has been delayed continuously by Savarino and the city.

Savarino believes that the re-zoning of the properties are “not in effect” because the proposal was withdrawn. He also stated that he is “unsure” on a decision to request the rezoning again because the “city suggested” the rezoning “last time.”

“We have pulled the request [proposal] so I would suppose it [the rezoning] is not in effect. We are as of yet unsure of whether or not to request rezoning of all the parcels. We are communicating with the City on this. You may recall that the City suggested this to us last time. We want to make sure we are doing the correct thing – and the proper thing. I am not sure whether I have a clear indication of that at this juncture,” said Savarino.

Savarino was asked if the proposal was going to be resubmitted or not, but did not answer the question.

Giacalone states that there may be several resons as to why “a new application has not been filed. Is Savarino having a hard time coming to an agreement with Mobius? Has Wyndham Hotels backed out? Is Savarino negotiating with Pano to buy the [605] Forest Avenue property?”

Buffalo’s Common Council is scheduled to meet on September 9, 2006 after Summer recess.

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July 26, 2006

Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled

Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled

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Recent Developments
Original Story

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Buffalo, New York – The preliminary hearing for a lawsuit against the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal has been pushed back to August 10, 2006.

The hotel would require the demolition of at least five properties owned by Hans Mobius, 1109-1121 Elmwood and would cause the closure of several businesses. Already, two businesses, Skunk Tail Glass and Six Nations Native American Gift Shop have relocated, outside the Elmwood Strip. Don apparel, H.O.D. Tattoo and Mondo Video still remain on Elmwood; however, Mondo Video is planning on moving to a new location. The hotel will be 72 rooms and will cost at least 7 million dollars to build. Savarino Construction Services Corporation would be in charge of building the hotel and Wyndham Hotels would operate it.

Attorney Arthur Giacalone says that the court date was pushed back because “the court apparently felt it did not make sense to proceed with oral argument on 7/27 if Savarino is going to re-start the process.” Giacalone also stated that the decision to adjourn until August 10 “was not my idea.” On July 13, 2006 Savarino announced that they were withdrawing the proposal to “resubmit” it to “shed the lawsuits” against the proposal.

Savarino was allegedly supposed to resubmit the proposal by the end of last week but so far has not done so. The final meeting of Buffalo’s Common Council for the summer occurred today. The Council will not meet again until September.

The most recent rendition of the Elmwood Village Hotel.

“If they [Savarino] took no action today, re the hotel, [that is, accepting the new application, or rescinding the prior rezoning resolution], nothing official will happen for the next 6 weeks or so,” added Giacalone also saying that if this is the case, “the court may not be willing to hear oral argument on 8/10 since we will still be up in the air about what’s going on.” Giacalone also states that he is unsure about “what they [the Common Council] did today.”

Despite the call for a “do-over” of the proposals process, Giacalone still states that his client’s position of the “pending lawsuit will not be ‘moot’ or ‘academic’ unless and until the Common Council rescinds its prior vote(s) that approved the rezoning” for the buildings on Elmwood and one property on Forest Avenues.

Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Construction has been contacted, but has not replied to any e-mails. Area councilman Joseph Golombeck has also been e-mailed, but also has not replied.

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July 13, 2006

Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn

Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Buffalo, New York — According to the developer Savarino Construction Services Corporation, the proposed Elmwood Village Hotel which would be placed on the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo, New York has been withdrawn from the city’s Planning Board and Common Council and will undergo a “do over”; however, Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarino says that the proposal will be resubmitted, from scratch by the end of next week.

The hotel would require the demolition of at least five properties, 1109-1121 Elmwood and would cause the closure of several businesses. Already, two businesses, Skunk Tail Glass and Six Nations Native American Gift Shop have relocated, outside the Elmwood Strip. Don apparel, H.O.D. Tattoo and Mondo Video still remain on Elmwood; however, Mondo Video is planning on moving to a new location. The hotel will be 72 rooms and will cost at least 7 million dollars to build.

“We’re lovers, not fighters. Our energies should be spent on developing a really wonderful project, not wasted in court. We’ll start over with a clean slate and take as much time as necessary to hear people out and end up with a very positive project for the neighborhood,” said President of Savarino Construction, Sam Savarino.

The hotel will not undergo any major changes in its design says Savarino. “We would anticipate little if any physical change to the plans.” He also alleges that the issues with the hotel were not with the design or the proposal and also says that the hotel is still right for the intersection.

The most recent rendition of the Elmwood Village Hotel.

“The perceived problem was with the process, not the proposal itself. We believe this is the right thing to do on that corner,” added Savarino.

According to the Buffalo News, the projects resubmission is aimed to “shed the lawsuits” against the proposal. The Buffalo News also claims that the Common Council members are all still “in favor of the project.” The proposal was unanimously passed by the council on March 21, 2006.

Attorney Arthur J. Giacalone who represents the plaintiffs, Nancy Pollina and Patricia Morris, who operate Don Apparel (a vintage clothing and collectibles shop at 1119 Elmwood Avenue), Angeline Genovese and Evelyn Bencinich, owners of residences on Granger Place which abut the rear of the proposed site, Nina Freudenheim, a resident of nearby Penhurst Park, and Sandra Girage, the owner of a two-family residence on Forest Avenue less than a hundred feet from the proposed hotel’s sole entrance and exit driveway, says that the hotel proposal was “inappropriately rushed,” but some council members disagree. Defendants in the lawsuit against the hotel are, Buffalo’s Common Council and Planning Board, Mayor of Buffalo, Byron W. Brown, Savarino Construction Services Corporation, Hans J. Mobius and his son Hans S. Mobius owners of the properties at stake, Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant on Elmwood, and Cendant Corporation, the parent company of Wyndham Hotels, which will be, according to Savarino, the hotel operator. Attorney David State is representing the city, Planning Board, Mayor Byron Brown and the Common Council.

“I don’t think it was a rush job,” said Dominic J. Bonifacio Jr., the council’s Majority Leader. He also alleges that the only way to make “it [the hotel] a better project and ease the concerns of some neighbors would be to find a way to provide more parking.”

In an exclusive phone interview with Wikinews, Giacalone states that the lawsuit against the hotel and the city “will not be moved [withdrawn] unless the Common Council resins their [prior] decisions in passing the proposal.” Giacalone also says that Savarino has yet to submit any new plans for the proposal to the city. He also says that he “still plans to represent all plaintiffs” if they wish to continue with the suit and the use of his services.

Giacalone rescheduled the preliminary hearing which is “still in place” for July 27, 2006. When asked if the properties are still owned by Mobius, Giacalone replied “yes” and that according to attorney Bob Knoer, the Lawyer representing Hans Mobius, the owner of the properties that could be demolished, there is “no contract between Savarino” and that Mobius “plans to put the properties back on the market.” Mobius has not returned phone calls or e-mails and has not yet commented on the situation or the proposal itself. The city denies these claims.

Council member Joseph Golombek at a public meeting regarding the hotel in March.

In an exclusive phone interview by Wikinews, area councilman Joseph Golombek states that the reason for the resubmission of the proposal was due to “a mistake in the Planning process” and that none of the council members have “indicated that they have changed their opinions on the hotel” and still remain in favor of the project.

“I still think the Hotel is a good idea for that part of Elmwood. For Elmwood to stay strong and vibrant it must continue to grow and adapt to change. It is a different community than it was twenty years ago and will be different in another twenty years. The opponents of the Hotel have the opportunity to challenge it and are doing that. Even though I disagree with them I am glad there is a safety mechanism for people who disagree with government. We need to keep moving forward,” added Golombek.

Supporters of the hotel proposal are planning on holding a rally to support the new development. WNYmedia.net claims that the first rally will be held to support the hotel proposal on July 17, 2006 at 5:00 p.m. on Elmwood and Forest, on the site of the proposed location. According to WNYmedia.net they “are tired of the anti development crowd in Western New York.” They also blast opponents of the hotel proposal calling them “bananas” and “nimbys.” People opposed to the hotel proposal are planning on “counter attacking” with their own protest on the same day and time.

Sources

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June 2, 2006

Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed

Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story

Friday, June 2, 2006

Buffalo, New York — In a statement, attorney Arthur Giacalone in charege of the case, Nancy Pollina et al opposing Savarino’s Elmwood Village Hotel, who is co-owner with Patty Morris of Don Apparel at 1109 Elmwood in Buffalo, New York has said that the preliminary hearing in New York State Supreme Court has been delayed.

“The court appearance has been adjourned for two weeks to 6/22,” said Giacalone.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a 72-room, seven-million-dollar hotel proposed by Savarino Construction Services Corporation and designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. Its construction would require the demolition of at least five buildings, currently at 1109-1121 Elmwood, which house several shops and residents. Although the properties are “under contract,” it is still not known whether Savarino Construction actually owns the buildings. It is believed that Hans Mobius, a resident of Clarence, New York and former Buffalo mayoral candidate, is still the owner. The hotel is expected to be a franchise of the Wyndham Hotels group.

Buffalo’s Common Council, Planning Board, Mayor of Buffalo, Byron W. Brown, Savarino Construction Services Corporation, Hans J. Mobius and his son Hans S. Mobius owners of the properties at stake, Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant on Elmwood, and Cendant Corporation, the parent company of Wyndham Hotels are among those named in the suit.

According to Giacalone, the city of Buffalo has requested two week extension to prepare their defense. Area councelman Joseph Golombek has been contacted to further confirm the date change request, but has not yet responded.

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May 26, 2006

In depth: Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal controversy

In depth: Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal controversy

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story

In February of 2006, the Savarino Services Construction Corp. proposed the construction of a seven million dollar hotel on Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo, New York. In order for the hotel to be built, at least five properties containing businesses and residents would have to be destroyed. It was not certain whether the properties were owned by Savarino or by the landlord Hans Mobius. The hotel was designed by Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group, and is planned to be a franchise of the Wyndham Hotels group.

Elmwood Avenue is known by the community as a popular shopping center, and Nancy Pollina of Don Apparel (who is “utterly against” the construction) claims it’s the only reason why students from Buffalo State College leave campus. Additionally, Michael Faust of Mondo Video said he did not want to “get kicked out of here [his video store property].”

In 1995, a Walgreens was proposed to be built on the same land, but Walgreens later withdrew its request for a variance because of pressure from the community. More recently, Pano Georgiadis tried to get the rights to demolish the Atwater House next to his restaurant on Elmwood Avenue, but was denied a permit due to the property’s historical value. He has since been an opponent to the hotel construction.

In the process of debating the hotel, it was thought that a hotel had previously existed on the proposed site, however; research done at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society had shown that no hotel had previously existed on the site.

In depth

The initial meeting

Artist’s impression of the current proposal, the Elmwood Village Hotel

On February 21, 2006, 140 people attended a meeting that was held at the Buffalo State College to discuss the hotel proposal. Citizens were opposed to the hotel development, including Mark Freeland, who claimed that the hotel will effectively prevent nearby Granger Street from getting any sunlight, and would make the households on that street “on permanent reality TV.” Nancy Pollina claimed that the proposal was being rushed. Alternatives were suggested, including a plan to commercially revitalize the street without the construction of a hotel. Rocco Termini, the developer who proposed the plan, claimed that small stores would “preserve the streetscape” of Elmwood Avenue.

Hotel redesign

One of the main objections at the meeting was the design of the building: a large box-shaped building that dwarfs the small shops on that street. In an interview with Eva Hassett of Savarino Construction Services Corp., she told Wikinews that the hotel would be a story shorter and have 10% less rooms. In addition, the aesthetics of the building were to be changed, different building materials were to be used, and the smaller building would allow for more parking. When asked if Savarino agreed to Termini’s proposal, they asserted that the hotel would be a great asset for Buffalo. Hassett agreed to another large meeting that was held in late February.

The second meeting and the planning board’s decision

Joseph Golombeck

A more low-profile meeting was held on February 27, 2006 to disucss the redesign. One of the attendees was Joseph Golombek, who had only heard of the hotel proposal a few days earlier. He claimed that he was asked to approve the hotel the next day, to which he had responded that he would not accept or reject until the community has had more time to look at it. In addition, Golombeck claimed that two of the properties, 605 Forest and 607 Forest, would need to be re-zoned in order for the hotel development to go through. At a meeting of the City Planning Board, they unanimously agreed to postpone voting on the hotel plans for thirty days due to a lack of meetings.

Termini, who appeared at the first meeting, still claimed that the hotel is bad. He proposed another idea, again without a hotel. Susan Curran Hoyt claimed the hotel is still too large, and asked if the hotel size could be further reduced. Evelyn Bencinich complained that her property value will be deprecated as a result of the hotel, and that the construction process of the hotel could result in serious consequences.

On March 10, 2006, it was reported that the planning board further delayed voting on the hotel.

Threats of lawsuit

These businesses will be afftected by the development, Don Apparel, H.O.D. Tattoo, Skunk Tail Glass, and Mondo Video.

At a meeting on March 13, 2006, Savarino confirmed that they are seeking a variance on 605 Forest in Buffalo. Originally, both 605 and 607 Forest were requested for a variance. 605 Forest is the property of Pano Georgiadis, a local restaurant owner, who has threatened to sue if they had requested the variance. A petition has been drawn to prevent the construction, which had been signed by Georgiadis. However, signs of support have been found, including a citizen claiming that the hotel will raise property values. The Buffalo News claimed that at least six of the Common Council members have approved the hotel construction.

On March 18, 2006, citizens protested on Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo against the construction of the hotel. At least forty people arrived to picket for two hours. One complaint within the crowd was that the hotel would destroy businesses that had been around for years.

Approval by the Common Council and Planning Board

On March 22, the Common Council unanimously approved the construction of the Elmwood Village Hotel in less than two minutes. The approval also allowed for the rezoning of all five properties to allow for hotel development. While 605 and 607 Forest Avenue are not needed for the hotel, Savarino still needs the rights to 605 Forest Avenue to fulfill certain requirements. Six days later, another protest occurred. Several individuals met with a lawyer to see if any legal action could be taken. While it has been claimed that there is a case, the legal fees would be too expensive. A legal fund has been looked into.

On March 28, the Planning Board, who has the final say, approved the hotel construction. This has aroused plenty of controversy for the plan, with one man saying, “Thanks for destroying Buffalo.” Georgiadis, the owner of an affected property, has confirmed that he is “definitely suing.”

Lawsuit filed

A cease and desist from a Buffalo citizen

Attorney Arthur J. Giacalone has filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court against Buffalo’s Planning Board and Common Council on April 21. The lawsuit claims that the plans were approved without giving consideration to the effects on the community. Giacolone is representing several people, including Nancy Pollina, one of the business owners affected by the plans. The lawsuit, titled Pollina et al. v. Common Council of the City of Buffalo et al., has been assigned to Rose H. Sconiers.

On April 26, more people have been named in the lawsuit, including the Mayor of Buffalo, Byron W. Brown, Savarino Construction Services Corporation, Hans J. Mobius and his son Hans S. Mobius, who are owners of the properties at stake, Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant on Elmwood, and Cendant Corporation, the parent company of Wyndham Hotels. In addition, Savarino is prohibited from doing any construction and Mobius is prohibited from preventing the lawsuit.

In an e-mail interview with Wikinews, councilmember Joseph Golombek stated that the city is fighting the lawsuit, claiming that they “believe that [they] did everything fairly and properly (as well as legally).”

As of June 2, 2006, the preliminary hearing for the lawsuit was postponed to June 22, and was subsequently postponed indefinitely.

Proposal withdrawn

As of July 13, 2006, according to Savarino Construction Services Corporation, the plans for the hotel will be withdrawn and will undergo a “do-over”. By the end of next week, the new proposal will be submitted.

“We’re lovers, not fighters. Our energies should be spent on developing a really wonderful project, not wasted in court. We’ll start over with a clean slate and take as much time as necessary to hear people out and end up with a very positive project for the neighborhood,” said President of Savarino Construction, Sam Savarino.

Savarino asserts that the problem was not with the design or the location, but with the rushed process involved with the proposal.

Since then, the preliminary hearing for the lawsuit has been rescheduled for August 10, 2006, and as of August 14, 2006, has been postponed indefinitely pending Savarino’s next action.

Properties for sale

A for sale sign has gone up on site of the proposed Elmwood Village Hotel location.

Hans Mobius has decided to place a for sale sign in front of the properties at 1109-1121 Elmwood.

Savarino now states that “legal complexities now exist” as a result of the sign being put up.

Documents threaten hotel proposal, businesses on site

Documents that lead back to nearly 1815 have turned up. According to the documents, “no business of anykind whatsoever” can be placed on the site of the proposed hotel. This discovery may cause the closure of any and all businesses on the site and may even prevent a hotel from ever being built.

Savarino is claiming that a judge will look at the documents to determine if the rules, which are stated on the original deeds of the properties, if a hotel can be placed there.

The original owner, Erastus Granger sold the land, which was known as the Granger estates to different people to build upon, but had restrictions which include no businesses or bars/saloons. For the time they were written, the documents also state that no barn, farm or stable can be built on the properties.

Chronology

Gallery


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April 29, 2006

City of Buffalo, N.Y. fighting lawsuit against hotel proposal

City of Buffalo, N.Y. fighting lawsuit against hotel proposal

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Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Councilmember Joseph Golombek speaks at a public meeting on March 15, 2006.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Buffalo, New York — Councilmember Joesph Golombek has responded to the lawsuit filed against the city of Buffalo for allegedly ‘fast-tracking’ a hotel that will be built on the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo. The lawsuit, filed by Attorney Arthur J. Giacalone, was filed in New York State Supreme Court on April 21, 2006.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a 72-room, seven-million-dollar hotel proposed by Savarino Construction Services Corporation and designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. Its construction would require the demolition of at least five buildings, currently at 1109-1121 Elmwood, which house several shops and residents. Although the properties are “under contract,” it is still not known whether Savarino Construction actually owns the buildings. It is believed that Hans Mobius, a resident of Clarence, New York and former Buffalo mayoral candidate, is still the owner. The hotel is expected to be a franchise of the Wyndham Hotels group. Buffalo’s Common Council, Planning Board, Mayor of Buffalo, Byron W. Brown, Savarino Construction Services Corporation, Hans J. Mobius and his son Hans S. Mobius owners of the properties at stake, Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant on Elmwood, and Cendant Corporation, the parent company of Wyndham Hotels are among those named in the suit.

Councilmember Joesph Golombek said that the Law Department is “fighting the lawsuit because they believe that we did everything fairly and properly (as well as legally).”

Golombek also stated that the lawsuit “could delay the start of the project” and that if he were “Mr. Savarino I would counter sue for any damages a postponement could bring.”

“Except for the lawsuit the city is finished with the project. In my opinion I believe those opposed to the project are simply use to the city procrastinating on projects. This one was passed quickly by comparison. Thus part of their frustration.” said Golombek.

“I understand the frustration of some of the people opposed to the project. But, in order for Elmwood to grow and thrive it will need to change. This change is a positive for that community,” he added.

Golombek also said that he is looking into “helping the displaced businesses.”

At least five businesses, Six Nations Gift Shop, Don Apparel, H.O.D. Tattoo, Skunk Tail Glass Company, and Mondo Video, will be forced to close their doors or relocate. Many of the buildings are also home to residents who will also have to move.

“I have personally contacted adjacent and nearby business associations and property owners to ask about the possibility of helping the displaced businesses. Hopefully the project will go through in a timely fashion and the displaced businesses will be able to relocate,” said Golombek.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. on June 8, 2006 in the Supreme Court building at 50 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, on the 8th floor, part 31.

Related Wikinews

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  • “Others named in lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, April 26, 2006
  • “Lawsuit sends Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal to New York Supreme Court” — Wikinews, April 25, 2006
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April 26, 2006

Others named in lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal

Others named in lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story

Image of verified petition/complaint.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Buffalo, New York — A copy has been obtained of the lawsuit filed against the City of Buffalo for allegedly fast-tracking a seven million dollar hotel proposal.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a 72-room, seven-million-dollar hotel proposed by Savarino Construction Services Corporation and designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. Its construction would require the demolition of at least five buildings, currently at 1109-1121 Elmwood, which house several shops and residents. Although the properties are “under contract,” it is still not known whether Savarino Construction actually owns the buildings. It is believed that Hans Mobius, a resident of Clarence, New York and former Buffalo mayoral candidate, is still the owner. The hotel is expected to be a franchise of the Wyndham Hotels group.

According to official court documents, there are more defendants than previously thought. Documents state that not only Buffalo’s Common Council and Planning Board are named in the lawsuit, but also the Mayor of Buffalo, Byron W. Brown, Savarino Construction Services Corporation, Hans J. Mobius and his son Hans S. Mobius owners of the properties at stake, Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant on Elmwood, and Cendant Corporation, the parent company of Wyndham Hotels are also named in the suit.

According to the lawsuit, during the length of the trial, Savarino Construction along with their employees, Hans Mobius and his son are not allowed to make any alterations or “engage in the physical alteration” of any of the said properties, 1109-1121 Elmwood and 9999 Forest. The suit also states that the owner of 605 Forest, Pano Georgiadis is also to follow the same rule.

The suit also states that Hans Mobius, his son and employees or “agents” are not allowed to “take any step, lawful or otherwise, to terminate [the] petitioners, Nancy Pollina and Patricia Morris,” owners of Don Apparel at 1119 Elmwood “tenancies.” Although the business is owned by Pollina and Morris, they are without a lease.

Land use and zoning of proposed site of Elmwood Village Hotel, April 2006.

Within the suit it states that the rezoning of the properties 1119-1121 Elmwood and 605 Forest, by the Common Council, from a ‘R3’ Dwelling District to a C2 commercial zone “constitutes as impermissible ‘spot-zoning'” and is “not in accord with a well-considered plan for the development of the community and is null and void.” According to the suit the courts of New York have defined spot-zoning as “the process of singling out a small parcel of land for a use classification totally different from that of the surrounding area, for the benefit of the owner of such properties and to the detriment of other owners.” The suit also states that the proposed site for the hotel is different from the surrounding properties because none of the zoning classifications, ‘EB’ [Elmwood Avenue Business District], ‘R3’ [Dwelling District], ‘R1’ [One Family District] and ‘R2’ [Dwelling District], permit the construction and operation of a hotel.

It is alleged that Savarino Construction “failed to utilize forms obtainable from the city clerks office, failed to include an accurate map or survey showing the location of all buildings and structures and failed to include the names and addresses of each of the owners of the properties to be rezoned.”

Site plan or zoning referral to Erie County, New York and reply to municipality.

It is also believed that recommendation in regards to [hotel] compatibility, different land uses, traffic studies, community character, population density, relations between other residents and business owners, public convenience, governmental efficiency, and achieving and maintaining a satisfied community, were to be sent to Erie County’s Planning agency and was to refer Savarino’s rezoning application and site plan to the agency, however; the lawsuit alleges that although a referral was given to Savarino, it “does not appear that the ‘full statement of such proposed action’ was forwarded to the County [Agency].”

The suit also alleges that the Common Council “failed to wait the ‘statutorily-mandated’ 30-days after the County’s Planning Agency’s receipt” of recommendations from the Council. The County’s Planning Agency replied to the recommendations, however; the Agency replied on March 27, 2006, just six days after the Council made its recommendations, falling well short of the “statutorily-mandated” thirty days. The Agency’s reply however, did not support or oppose the recommendations or hotel proposal.

Public hearings are required to be registered by the City clerk to the City Planning Board, and according to the suit, “no record” of the Public hearing on March 7, presenting the initial proposal to the public, was made within the City’s Clerk office or Planning Board.

Comments from Erie County Division of planning on the SEQRA.

The suit also alleges that the Common council and Planning Board also violated the State’s Environmental Quality Review Act or SEQRA and the City’s Environmental Review Ordinance by allowing the Planning Board to be the “lead agency” instead of the Common Council. A lead agency is an involved agency principally responsible for undertaking or approving an action and therefore responsible for determining whether an Environmental Impact Statement or EIS is needed, according to the SEQRA regulations. The suit also states that the hotel proposal “constitutes an action under the SEQRA” because the project could “affect the environment by changing the use, appearance or condition of any natural resource or structure that requires one or more approvals from an agency or agencies” and that the Common Council and Planning Board are “obliged to comply with both the letter [recommendations] and spirit of the SEQRA review process” which include identifying the areas of environmental concerns and taking a “hard look” at them. The suit also claims that the Common Council has the “sole authority to grant Savarino Construction’s rezoning request” and “to approve the special development plan,” but it also claims that the Planning Board is “an involved agency” but that it is “clearly subordinate to that of the Common Council” therefore the decision made by both the Council and Planning Board to allow the Planning Board to be the ‘lead agency,’ is in “violation” of the State’s SEQRA and “renders all determinations” made by the Planning Board and Common Council on March 14, 21, and 28, 2006, “void and unauthorized.” It goes on to say that the Council “proceeded without or in excess of their jurisdiction, and/or made a determination in violation of lawful procedure, affected by an error of law, and/or in an arbitrary and capricious manner.” It also states that unless the requirements of the SEQRA are met, then the petitioners have the right to “seek a temporary restraining order” from the Court if circumstances require it.

The suit also states that a failure to grant a preliminary injunction, through the courts, will result in “irreparable injury” to the petitioners and that the Council and Planing Board have failed to comply with the requirements of the SEQRA and have violated several other state laws and city codes.

So far, Savarino Construction has not responded to any calls or e-mails. District councilman Joseph Golombek also has not responded. Georgiadias was unavailable for comment.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. on June 8, 2006 in the Supreme Court building at 50 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, on the 8th floor, part 31.

Related Wikinews

External links

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