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:

1. 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.

2. The affected properties are home to 8 of these locally owned businesses.

3. These locally owned businesses would be displaced or forced to close due to this development.

4. 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.

5. 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.

We, the undersigned, support the diversity and unique character of the Elmwood Village as demonstrated through its locally owned businesses. We petition the Elmwood Village Association, the Buffalo Common Council, and other representatives of the public interest to stand with us, the local business owners, residents, and patrons of the Elmwood Village, against any development at the above mentioned properties that would have an adverse effect on locally owned businesses.

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About Buffalo First
Buffalo First is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation founded in 2006 as a coalition of local businesses committed to educating the public about the importance of a strong local economy. Today, Buffalo First exists to manage, support, and connect programs that fulfill our vision of a just and sustainable local economy.

For nearly ten years, Buffalo First’s most visible program, “Think Local First,” has taught consumers, businesses, and policymakers that upwards of 4 times more capital recirculates in the local economy when we buy from locally owned and independently operated companies rather than chains, creating jobs, strengthening communities, and fostering a self-determined and democratic local economy.

Buffalo First’s vision for a just and sustainable local economy goes beyond the concept of “buy local” to also champion entrepreneurial activity that is in harmony with the natural environment, and entrepreneurial activity that creates positive social impact for the people in our communities. Thus, we envision a “local, green, and fair” economy for Western New York, and the concept of a “triple bottom line” for business: people, planet, and profit.

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