January 28, 2016
Buffalo First
Buffalo First

As we approach the Black Friday shopping weekend, we at Buffalo First traditionally encourage you to shop at your locally owned and independent businesses rather than chains. This year, there is no shortage of Buffalo First-approved opportunities to shop local on Black Friday, including the Elmwood Village Black Friday Boutique Crawl on Friday morning, and The Public's Cash Mob Shopping Series, beginning Saturday, at noon, at the West Side Bazaar.

But, this year we are also coming to you on Thanksgiving weekend with a call to action: a petition organized by a group of dedicated localists in the Elmwood Village area concerned about the ramifications of a proposed real estate development project in the heart of the Elmwood Village.

On October 23, 2015, Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. confirmed to several news sources that it has placed a series of buildings on and around Elmwood Avenue between Bidwell Parkway and Bird Avenue under contract. These buildings include 976, 982, 984, 986, 998, 1006, 1010, 1020, 1024, and 1028 Elmwood Avenue, and 583, 584, and 588 Potomac Avenue.

According to The Buffalo News, Ciminelli “intends to build two apartment buildings, probably four to five stories tall, with first-floor storefronts.” Dennis Penman, Ciminelli’s Executive Vice President, has stated that, “whatever we do will be consistent with [the] existing fabric of the neighborhood” and that the new development would preserve the “character” of the Elmwood Village.

However, the unique character and existing fabric of the Elmwood Village is directly threatened by this development:

Beyond aesthetic concerns, the unique character of the Elmwood Village is defined by the unique locally owned businesses that make up the majority of Elmwood businesses. The affected properties are home to 8 of these locally owned businesses. These locally owned businesses would be displaced or forced to close due to this development. Commercial rents in new developments are historically set much higher than the affordable rents locally owned businesses currently pay. Many locally owned businesses cannot afford higher rents, and chain stores take their place in new developments. It is a well-documented fact that upwards of 4 times more capital is reinvested in the local economy through purchases at locally owned businesses rather than chains, and this has a direct effect on the quality of life in our communities.

If you wish to add your name to this petition, you can do so by clicking here. Buffalo First is proud to support the local independent businesses in our communities that reinvest more of their revenues into the regional economy and provide wealth, ownership opportunities, and jobs to our neighbors.