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Generation Development Group is working with owner Rick Smith and Carmina Wood Morris on the project. While details are scarce, Generation Development Group is taking the first step by seeking rezoning of the properties to allow residential uses.
From the application to the City:
We are proposing to revitalize this currently under-utilized community asset with a mix of uses, including residential which is not permitted under existing classification.
We are jointly requesting that the City of Buffalo, through City Planning Board and City Common Council, review and approve our request to rezone the following parcels; 139, 145, 151 and 157 Buffalo River Road, as well as two Lot Lines, as a Secondary Employment Center ( N-1S ) from their current Light Industrial ( D-IL ) designation. Should you find our application complete we would be happy to appear, at their convenience, before City of Buffalo Planning Board and/ or City of Buffalo Common Council public hearing, at which time we will present the proposal and address any Board concerns.
We feel the current light industrial designation of the parcels recognizes the lineage of the grain elevators and warehouses that proliferate the site. However, it is somewhat limiting, given the accepted principal uses identified in the Unified Development Ordinance, to the potential programming options of the National Registry listed structures, specifically in regards to residential occupancies. While immediate adjacencies align with the industrial designation, a broader contextual evaluation depicts an extensive residential zoning just across the Buffalo River to the north. Which given the interplay and historic dependency of the elevators to their workers/community, creates a uniquely Buffalo juxtaposition of building typology and community evolution.
Despite their abandonment, the neighborhood to north persists making introduction of residential uses not entirely out of place, but rather a programming link across the river, offering a residence type not available within the smaller scale structures to the north. The recommendation of the N-1S classification would maintain many if not all of the potential D-IL uses, while adding the residential components necessary to create a mixed-use employment center, among the large-footprint industrial structures.
Generation Development Group is a boutique community development and consulting firm “focused on providing housing solutions with the goal of creating transformational communities.” Marvin Wilmoth, a first-generation Honduran-American, is managing principal and co-founder. He is also Vice Mayor and Harbor Island Commissioner in Florida.
The Planning Board will kick-off review of the rezoning request at its Monday meeting.
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