Gerald Buchheit is the “main man” at Queen City Landing. [It’s a limited liability company, so we don’t know who he is or isn’t partnering with these days.]
It was less than three months ago that Buchheit’s spokesperson, Phil Pantano, was quoted in the Buffalo News claiming that “Jerry” had used the two years since the city’s 2016/2017 approvals for his 23-story tower “… to really review and refine his vision and plan for the project.” Then, a couple weeks later, on December 4, 2019, Buffalo’s Common Council was sent a Letter of Intent [LOI] by Mr. Buchheit’s counsel, Adam Walters, admitting that (despite two years of reviewing and refining his vision) Queen City Landing had zero plans for the rear 12-acres of the 20-acre Fuhrmann Boulevard site:
“… Any future redevelopment of the remaining approximately 12 acres of the site will be designed and progressed on market demand in a way that furthers QCL’s overall redevelopment goals consistent with the PUD. However, at this time, no further redevelopment plans for the site have been developed.” [Emphasis added.]
The same admissions were made on behalf of QCL/Buchheit at January 2020 proceedings – in furtherance of Queen City Landing’s flawed PUD application – before the City Planning Board and the Common Council’s Legislation Committee.
But now – just a month or so later – we all are asked to believe that Mr. Buchheit and his team have a sincere, carefully crafted, and doable “master plan” for the entire 20-acre QCL site. Why, we have even been provided a rendering of what Jim Fink and Business First Buffalo say is Buchheit’s intention “to create a village” (with a $180M price tag):
[a/k/a “Buchheit Village”]
The Buffalo News recently reported on this latest iteration of Mr. Buchheit’s “vision” for the former Freezer Queen site. Here’s how the BN’s business reporter, Jonathan D. Epstein, describes Mr. Buchheit and his plans:
The developer behind the controversial Queen City Landing residential tower on the Outer Harbor is doubling-down on his bet, proposing two more six-story apartment buildings and a cluster of 32 townhouses on the rest of the peninsula that juts into the water.
Gerald Buchheit, whose pending proposal for a 20-story building is still mired in controversy, now says he wants to add two more phases to the project, located at 975 Fuhrmann Blvd.
His concept would ultimately add another 178 apartments – on top of the 206 he already plans in the first phase – along with additional restaurants, terraces and parking, according to documents that Buchheit has submitted to the city. …
But I really don’t think the Buffalo News, or the Queen City Landing website, provides anyone who might be curious about the proposed project the full picture. So I wrote a letter to the editor, and my tongue-in-cheek musings were included in the February 22, 2020 print version of our region’s largest newspaper under the headline, “Queen City Landing is not the gem it seems.”
If you’re interested n reading my “Everybody’s column” submission, I’m inserting it below – with the title I had proposed – and adding links to various assertions that I make.
Living the high life at Buchheit Village
WANTED: 384 adventurous renters and condominium owners to live in “Buchheit Village” on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. The views are great, and you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of extras:
First, impress your friends by pointing to your home on FEMA’s flood plain maps and bragging about the “Special Flood Hazard Area” designation. See. FEMA FIRMETTE QCL-Small Boat Harbor Area Site_Specific (You might refrain from telling them about the sky-high annual premium for your mandatory flood insurance policy.)
Second, when the meteorologists warn that a wind-driven, 8- 12- or 15-foot wall of water or seiche will be crushing the Lake Erie shoreline, invite your friends over to hunker down with you and experience the awesome power of nature.
[Here’s how Our Outer Harbor‘s website describes the recent “seiche” activity along Buffalo’s Outer Harbor:
Lake Erie Seiche
Third, if you enjoy using your car every time you need groceries, when it’s time to refill a prescription, or your clothes need dry-cleaning, you’ll be in heaven living in a development that QCL’s traffic consultant describes as “Car-Dependent” with a “Walk Score” of 1 (on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being most walkable).
Fourth, if you enjoy a constant parade of cars and the unpleasant smell of exhaust fumes, you can pack a picnic basket, sit on a park bench near the site’s entrance, and watch your neighbors and the public pulling in and out of the development’s 777 parking spaces.
Fifth, if you’re a bit morbid, you can entertain yourself most mornings counting the carcasses of migrating birds who got disoriented by the lights of the 20-story tower the previous evening. [See, for example, HuffPost article re Galveston bird kill May 2017.]
You better hurry. This perfect place to live will fill up fast.
Arthur J. Giacalone
With All Due Respect,
[Note: QCL’s 2018 Brownfield cleanup of the site only involved the front 8 acres, where the 20-story tower and 222-vehicle parking lot are proposed. Neither the City of Buffalo, nor the public, has adequate information to determine what type of development the DEC will consider appropriate for the rear 12 acres.]