The city Planning Board approved an expanded version of David L. Ulrich's South Block site plan Tuesday.
In a brief special meeting, the board allowed Ulrich to add about 5,000 square feet to his proposed commercial development along the Walnut Street side of the 2.65-acre parcel.
The developed area will now be 290-feet long and 60-feet deep on both Walnut and Main streets. Each side will offer about 15,000 square feet of rentable space.
There will now be seven buildings on the Walnut Street side, six on the Main Street side, with a parking lot and "Heritage Square" public space in between.
"We're ready to go (with construction)," said Timothy Mulvey, Ulrich's construction contractor.
Ulrich had argued his plans would result in a net reduction of about 10 spaces in available downtown parking.
The South Block, which is a vacant lot on Main Street, and an adjoining city parking lot fronting Walnut Street are to be sold to Ulrich by the city for $1.
The Common Council hopes to vote on the plan at 7 p.m. today, unless a lawsuit filed by former South Block owner Elmer A. Granchelli blocks it. A State Supreme Court hearing is scheduled today in Niagara Falls.
Granchelli believes that the city's plan to abandon Heritage Court, a one-way street that separates the South Block from the parking lot, violates the City Charter.
Granchelli's suit says affected property owners must give permission to abandon the street, and he owns buildings on the east and west sides of South Block.
Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said the part of the street the city is abandoning to Ulrich runs only the length of the vacant lot and ends at Granchelli's two property lines.
Granchelli and his property manager, Kelli R. Alaimo, attended the meeting but did not speak and left before it adjourned.
The board required Ulrich to submit a revised lighting and landscaping plan for its approval and required that parking in the area must remain open to the public.
The Council also expects to vote tonight on Ulrich's request to lease another city-owned parking lot, fronting Elm, Locust and Walnut streets. He intends to construct a new farmers' market there.