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Aldi to submit new plan for site near Broadway Market

Aldi is expected to submit revised plans to build a supermarket at one of Buffalo's most nostalgic retail addresses across from the Broadway Market.

Last month, Christopher V. Kambar, the manager of the $1.1 million project, told city planners that revising the design to place all parking in the rear of a new structure planned at 998 Broadway "isn't an option."

But city officials confirmed Monday that the chain intends to submit a revised proposal when the Planning Board meets today.

While the board has focused on design concerns, others have raised fears that a discount supermarket on the site of the former Sattler's department store will hurt the already-ailing Broadway Market.

But Eddy Dobosiewicz of the Despensata Corporation, a non-profit neighborhood advocacy group, said Monday he believes that an Aldi could help the market by attracting new customers. Dobosiewicz said the city-owned market has long been plagued by territorial squabbles involving some vendors.

"Instead of fighting over customers, how about going out and finding new customers? What a novel idea," he said.

Still, Dobosiewicz said he remains convinced that Aldi should move all parking farther away from the street so that the store itself would be as close to Broadway as possible. Such a design, he said, would foster a "walkable urban environment."

At a July 19 Planning Board meeting, Kambar underscored the importance of accommodating about 20 parking spots at the front of the store. The 15,390-square-foot market would be located in front of a former Kmart that has been vacant for years.

Common Council President David A. Franczyk, whose Fillmore District includes the Broadway Market, said he's less concerned about design issues than he is the impact a discount food retailer could have on the market. Franczyk renewed his call to have Aldi consider building a store inside the city-owned facility, a move that would generate significant rental income for the market and bring customers directly into the complex.

Despite his lingering concerns, Franczyk said he won't stand in the way of the $1.1 million supermarket if project planners can win widespread support in the neighborhood.

"I'll take a look at the revised plan," Franczyk said. "If the stakeholders in the neighborhood accept it, I would be open to it."

When Aldi unveiled its proposal last month, some market vendors echoed Franczyk's concerns.

"We can barely survive as it is," said Peter Lupas, who has operated Lupus Meats in the market for 45 years. "An Aldi's is going to ruin the market."

It was unclear Monday what changes Aldi proposes making to the project. At last month's Planning Board meeting, Vice Chairwoman Cynthia A. Schwartz claimed that too much of the proposed structure looked like a "bunker." The board tabled the plan and urged Kambar to submit a revised proposal.

Project supporters insist the new supermarket would attract shoppers from other neighborhoods who might not otherwise visit the Broadway-Fillmore area.