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Paladino seeks to buy 2 streets near Cobblestone District

Ellicott Development wants to buy two city streets next to its “Creamery building” overlooking the Niagara Thruway, and City Hall intends to sell them along with one of its own garages for a total $633,000.

The land will allow for more parking and green space around the 1920s-era Fairmont Creamery Co. warehouse at 199 Scott St., which Ellicott Development is transforming into offices, residences and other uses at the edge of the Cobblestone District.

Carl Paladino is chbairman of Ellicott.

Among the office tenants for “The Fairmont’’ – as the building has been renamed – is Kim and Terry Pegula’s sports-ownership group, which relocated from One Seneca Tower after Buffalo’s tallest structure went into foreclosure.

In documents sent to the Common Council, Mayor Byron W. Brown’s Office of Strategic Planning signals its willingness to sell the two one-block streets in The Fairmont’s shadow. They are East Market Street and West Market Street, both of which start at Scott Street and run perpendicular to Perry Street, where they end near the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.

William A. Paladino, who serves as Ellicott Development’s chief executive officer and as president of “5277 Group LLC,” the entity that would buy the streets, offered $226,400 after his appraiser set that price. It equates to $6 a square foot, and the Office of Strategic Planning urged the Common Council to approve the deal.

Dominating the block formed by East and West Market streets is a red-brick, city-owned garage and storage building that has gone unused since 2004. The city will sell that building – 190 Perry St. – for $407,000. Again, the price was set by the developer’s appraiser and approved by City Hall, according to documents given to the Council. The building would be razed.

A couple of businesses front on East Market Street, and their fate remained unclear Tuesday. At least one of the businesses rents its space from Ellicott Development. William Paladino did not return a telephone message seeking comment.

Common Council members Tuesday sent both matters – the sale of the streets and the city-owned building – to their Community Development Committee for review. The sale of the streets also went to the Planning Board, which would have to sign off.

Council members set a public hearing on the sale of the streets for 2 p.m. on Dec. 8 in City Hall.

Both sales are likely to win Council approval, said Council Member David A. Franczyk, whose Fillmore District encompasses The Fairmont.

The sale of a city street is rare, Franczyk said. The last one he could remember was a two-block section of Fulton Street sold in 2006 to enable construction of the casino.

Critics at the time said the $631,000 price was too low. But in comparison, it was higher than the sale price for both East Market Street and West Market Street.

With the additional land, the footprint for The Fairmont at 199 Scott St. will appear to double, continuing the stunning transformation for a structure that long spoke to Buffalo’s decline, not its revival.

For years, Ellicott Development had allowed weather to invade the structure, and its blighted condition drew the attention of Buffalo’s Housing Court. Ellicott Chairman Carl Paladino promised that a rehab would come with an improved economy. But at the time, the creamery building’s most visible use was to support a rooftop billboard on which Carl Paladino would place comments for his enemies and other statements for drivers passing by.

email: mspina@buffnews.com