After a bruising legal battle with the Zoning Board of Appeals last year, Ellicott Development Co. is hoping its proposal for a new Tim Hortons on Michigan Avenue will face an easier review by the city Planning Board next week. Carl and William Paladino's company is seeking approval for its plan to construct a two-story retail and residential building on a vacant site at the northwest corner of Michigan and William Street, on the eastern edge of downtown Buffalo.
The 9,431-square-foot project would be anchored by a 2,000-square-foot Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop on the first floor, plus 2,500 square feet of additional retail space, and 32 parking spaces on site and in an adjacent lot at 173 Elm St. The second floor would feature three apartments, with a mix of two- and three-bedroom units.
The two-thirds-acre site, at 474 Michigan, has been vacant for nearly 20 years.
The $1.115 million plan was nearly derailed, however, when Ellicott sought a zoning variance to permit a drive-thru – a standard feature and expectation for the coffee-and-doughnut chain, which required it as part of its lease. The request was initially rejected by the ZBA in September, but Ellicott took the agency to court and won, forcing the board to reverse course and grant the variance.
The Planning Board will review the project on Monday. If approved, officials hope to start work in March and finish by the fall, said Ellicott Director of Development Tom Fox.
"We’ve worked hard in response to community feedback to design a building that fits the character of the neighborhood through its architectural detailing," Fox said. "And while the drive-thru remains a concern to some in the community, we’ve made several adjustments to our plans along the way to minimize those concerns."