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Ciminelli wants to raze last of buildings where family's firm got its start

So much for roots and history.

Citing deteriorating and dangerous conditions, Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. wants to demolish the three remaining structures on the East Side industrial property where the family's construction business got its start.

The Buffalo-based developer owned by Paul Ciminelli sought Buffalo Preservation Board approval last week to take down the buildings at 135 Manhattan Ave.

That's adjacent to the sprawling former Central Park Plaza site where LPCiminelli – the former construction and contracting company owned by Paul's brother, Louis – is working to transform the now-vacant land into the Highland Park community. Louis Ciminelli was convicted in a bribery scandal, but the Highland Park project is continuing through his family. The two Ciminelli companies are separate entities.

The Manhattan Street property is owned by the estate of Frank L. Ciminelli – Paul's and Louis's father – who founded the Frank L. Ciminelli Construction Co., which was split up to create separate contracting and real estate businesses.

The site includes a two-story wood-and-metal warehouse and manufacturing building, a one-story wooden barn-style warehouse with a loft, and a one-story metal garage and storage facility.

According to a letter to the Preservation Board from Guard Construction and Contracting Corp., the demolition is needed "because of the safety concerns due to the poor condition of the buildings."

The contractor cited an August evaluation of the roofs by Sutton Architecture, which told Ciminelli that "the current structural integrity of the three buildings... creates an unsafe condition for you and your employees to complete the necessary abatement of the roofing material located on this building."

The Preservation Board recommended approval of demolition permits for most of the structures, except for the 1930 Acme Builders Supply Co. industrial shed, which it noted "may be the City of Buffalo's only surviving example of a wood-framed industrial shed with monitor roof."

Another part of the original 42,000-square-foot complex, a one-story brick building, was demolished in 2017 because of deterioration.

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