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Ciminelli, Natale seek brownfield cleanup plans and credits

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is asking for public comments on proposed brownfield cleanup plans for two pending development projects, one on the West Side and one in downtown Buffalo.

Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. has proposed construction of an 18-story apartment, office and retail complex on a 2.5-acre site at 201 Ellicott St., between the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library and the bus terminal. The mixed-use project would be anchored by a grocery store.

The property is currently a fenced-in, 377-space parking lot with a small brick structure used as a security office. The site was contaminated from 70 years of commercial and industrial uses, as well as the "unregulated placement of contaminated fill material to backfill demolished structures," according to the DEC.

The property is owned by the city, which selected Ciminelli as the designated developer. Final negotiations are underway on a sale agreement before Ciminelli can seek city approvals for the project and start the construction work.

Ciminelli's downtown grocery store, high-rise moves forward

Separately, Natale Development is planning to convert the former Aldrich & Ray Manufacturing Company building at 1485-1491 Niagara St. into a mixed-use facility with commercial and residential space. Also known as the former S.A. Day Manufacturing Co. building, the four-story building is across the street from Natale's Crescendo apartments.

Two businesses already have signed leases for the first and second floors, with a third lease in the works to fill up those levels, while Natale plans to convert the third and fourth floors into 12 to 14 two-story loft apartments. The project – funded with historic and brownfield cleanup tax credits – already is approved by the city, and Natale hopes to start work in June and finish most of it by year's end.

The building has a manufacturing history dating back to 1898.

Participation in the Brownfield Cleanup Program enables property owners to remediate sites under state supervision so they can avoid future liability while also qualifying for lucrative state tax credits for redevelopment projects.

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