As you stroll down Chapin Parkway with your Akita Inu or Norfolk Terrier, or while enjoying a cocktail in the Canterbury Woods penthouse lounge, have you ever fantasized about owning Gates Circle? Have the historic fountains, stairways and greenery captured your imagination? If so, you no longer have to be content with viewing this E.B. Green-designed masterpiece from a nearby triangular island or a stylish lofty perch. Thanks to the ingenuity of Mayor Byron Brown’s staff and City Hall sycophants, YOUR DREAM CAN NOW COME TRUE!
On April 16, 2019, Buffalo’s Common Council voted unanimously to create the “Linwood Lafayette Urban Development Action Area” [UDAA] So it would look as if they were complying with a state-mandated requirement that at least 60% of the real property within the UDAA be city-owned, the clever bureaucrats on City Hall’s ninth floor drew the UDAA’s boundary lines to include the public right-of-way on Delaware, Linwood, and Lafayette avenues, and, most importantly, all of Gates Circle!
By including Gates Circle as part of the newly formed Linwood Lafayette Urban Development Action Area, the Common Council has designated this historic public space and all the other land in the UDAA “as appropriate for urban development.”
TM Montante Development may have been shameless enough to request creation of the UDAA. But, the state law authorizing the City of Buffalo to form the UDAA does not limit who can propose a project for all or a portion of the designated area, and empowers the city to sell or lease the land “to any person, firm or corporation.” So your dream can come true!
Christian Campos, TM Montante Development President, awaits 04/16/2019 Common Council vote on UDAA.
Here’s the best part: Not only might you be chosen to own (or, if you prefer, lease for up to 99 years) Gates Circle, by creating the UDAA, the Common Council now has the power to give you incentives to encourage your participation in this program (as if you need an incentive!), including generous 20-year tax exemptions and remarkably favorable loans.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Some cranky old Buffalonians (who believe that our government officials should strive to follow the letter and spirit of the law) have insisted that the Common Council misused the state law that allows a city to designate a UDAA – General Municipal Law, Article 16. They claim that Article 16 and the creation of a UDAA was never intended as a mechanism for bailing out an under-financed developer whose plans for an ambitious private project have encountered unanticipated complications. From their perspective, Article 16’s generous incentives were designed to encourage hesitant private enterprises to partner with a municipality to correct blight and substandard conditions at city-owned properties that had been acquired through urban renewal or condemnation powers. So, if the designation of the Linwood Lafayette Urban Development Action Area is challenged in court, you may have to give Gates Circle back to the residents of the City of Buffalo. [Check out this for background information.]
COMMISSIONS: Buffalo officials aren’t likely to ask for a commission for arranging the sale of Gates Circle to you. [However, if past history is a guide, it probably wouldn’t hurt to donate generously to the campaign chests of the mayor and the various councilmembers.]
Darius Pridgen, Council President/ Ellicott District Member/Bishop/Pastor/Entrepreneur/Self-proclaimed Article 16 expert.
With All Due Respect,