What has long been considered an eye sore will soon become a centerpiece for redevelopment in Buffalo’s Central Park Plaza neighborhood. Today, Mayor Byron W. Brown, joined by John Ciminelli, Senior Vice President of LPCiminelli, and Permit and Inspection Services Commissioner James Comerford announced that Strickler Development, an LLC solely owned by Louis Ciminelli, bought the 27-acre Central Park Plaza property for $800,000 on Thursday.
“The Central Park Plaza has been a problem for years,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “I’m excited that the Strickler Development Group stepped forward to purchase this long neglected sight. This is great news for the surrounding neighborhood and City of Buffalo.”
In a prepared statement, Louis Ciminelli, who is also President & CEO of LPCiminelli, the region’s largest construction company said, “I have great affinity for the Central Park neighborhood. The history of our company began there 50 years ago and we moved our corporate headquarters back in 2009. I want to thank Mayor Brown and his entire team as well as other local officials who have been very supportive through the process of acquiring the property.
“Our short-term plans are to environmentally remediate and secure the site,” continued Ciminelli. “After that, we will then consider our options for the highest and best use of the site that makes economic sense and that fits the surrounding community and city overall. We will have a lot of conversations with the community on what those development plans could be.”
The property was under the ownership of a Brooklyn investment group, but the absentee former owner was ordered to sell the site, under a settlement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, following a state probe on the group’s failure to maintain it despite repeated citations. The plaza, once a thriving shopping center, is surrounded by residential neighborhoods and apartments, with five schools nearby.
“We’re happy this property is going under local control,” said Common Council Majority Leader Demone Smith. “Residents have been working on this for years and it’s a huge win for the neighborhood.”
Removing blight and cleaning up the Central Park Plaza neighborhood continues to be a top priority of Mayor Brown. Since 2006, the city demolished 116 abandoned properties in the area at a cost of $2.1 million. Today, Mayor Brown also rolled out the start of a new code enforcement action plan called the Buffalo Neighborhood Enhancement Team, AKA, “B-Net.”
The newly created team of pro-active Code Enforcement Inspectors from the Department of Permit & Inspection Services is scheduled to go door-to-door in the Central Park Plaza neighborhood, beginning the week of June 4th, writing up absentee landlords for various code violations. “B-Net” plans to conduct future code enforcement actions in each Council District over the next few months, improving the safety and quality of life in Buffalo neighborhoods.