Elmer A. Granchelli, the former owner of the vacant South Block on Main Street, has obtained a temporary court order preventing the city from turning a small street behind the parcel over to rival developer David L. Ulrich.
Arguments will be heard Wednesday before State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. That night, the Common Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on selling the South Block and an adjoining city parking lot to Ulrich for $1.
Separating the two parcels is Heritage Court, a one-way street that runs behind five Main Street structures owned by Granchelli, some of which are vacant.
"If you look at the blueprint, those two egresses are still there and still owned by the city," Mayor Michael W. Tucker said Sunday. "They're fully aware the claim they're making isn't even in the project. I don't know what they're doing."
Kloch issued the restraining order Friday on the application of Randolph C. Oppenheimer, an attorney for Granchelli.
Tucker said unless Kloch lifts it Wednesday, the Council can't vote on the deal that night, although it can hold the hearing. No work could be done on the site while the order is in force.
An angry Ulrich blasted Granchelli: "If it weren't for lawyers, he wouldn't have any friends at all. It's an example of what's he's done for 30 years. His negativity is an example of why his buildings are vacant. He's holding all of eastern Niagara County back with his selfishness."
Granchelli and his second-in-command, Kelli R. Alaimo, did not return calls seeking comment on Ulrich's remarks.
Ulrich plans to construct 12 buildings, six along Main Street and six along the Walnut Street side of the current parking lot. He plans to seek retail, restaurant and office tenants.
Granchelli lost title to the South Block to the city in 1996, after a lengthy lawsuit in which the city charged him with breaching a contract to build something on the parcel. Granchelli paid $500,000 in damages; the city plans to give that money to Ulrich as part of a $950,000 incentive package toward his $4 million project.