'Mixed-Use' Project Proposed for Webster Block

June 24, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 3:50 PM EDT

By WKBW News

June 24, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 3:50 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW-TV) - It's currently a 300-space parking lot but it soon could be transformed into a 24-hour downtown destination,
which is exactly what the city hopes one of three proposals will do for lower Main Street.

"The elements that we're seeing in the proposals speak to that and that's one of the things we asked them to design the project for," said Brendan Mehaffy, Executive Director for the Office of Strategic Planning.

Carl Paladino's Ellicott Development Company submitted plans for a 12-story, 700,000 square foot mixed used building that will include a brand name hotel, 42 upscale and market-rate apartments and office space. A restaurant and retail will also be located on the first floor.

It would also feature 1089 parking spaces, of which nearly 850 will be available to the public.

"It will give life I believe to canal place, it will provide all those services that the other features of canal place will require," said Paladino.

The second bidder was the Buffalo Sabres. Business First reports they are proposing a pair of hockey rinks, a full service and nationally branded hotel along with parking.

The third bidder was T.R. Browning Architects.

Mehaffy says each proposal will enhance immediate area, "it's something that's going to build on and complement the development that's been happening on at canalside."

When the project was first announced Mayor Byron Brown said there was a lot interest in the block but only the three proposals were submitted. So what happened?

"We received from a lot of interest from a lot of people but they might not have been able to work through the details with a potential tenant," said Mehaffy. "I think there were more out there but just a question of timing this is a large block to develop."

Uniland was one of those companies. The senior marketing manager for the company told Eyewitness News they were very interested and it's a prime piece of property but could not secure a tenant.

The city will make their selection by August 15 with construction underway by next summer.