Citizens protest Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal

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Protesters walk the picket line at the Elmwood Village Hotel protest.
Protesters walk the picket line at the Elmwood Village Hotel protest.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Buffalo, New York — On Saturday March 18, citizens in Buffalo demonstrated to make their voices be heard. The protest mounted by people opposed to the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal took place on the proposed site at Forest and Elmwood Avenues.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a 72-room, seven-million-dollar hotel proposed by Savarino Construction Services Corporation. The hotel would require the demolition of at least five buildings (1109-1121 Elmwood), which house several shops and residents. Karl Frizlen, an architect with Frizlen Group, designed the hotel. Although the properties are "under contract," it is still unknown if Savarino Construction actually owns the buildings. It is believed that Hans Mobius, a resident of Clarence, New York and former Buffalo Mayorial candidate, is still the owner. The hotel is expected to be a franchise of the Wyndham Hotels group.

Despite the cold weather, at least 40 people showed up to walk the picket line for 2 two hours.

Protesters walk the picket line at the Elmwood Village Hotel protest.

Clarence Carnahan, a Buffalo resident, supplied signs that citizens could use during the protest. Some of the signs said, 'No vacancy, No hotel,' 'No tell hotel,' 'Hans off' and 'Our neighborhood, our choice, no hotel.'

"The concern is they are going to tear down established businesses that have been here for years," said Charles Leist, a protester.

"We're fighting to the bitter end. We're hoping that we can squelch this. We don't think we can, but we're going down kicking and screaming," said Patty Morris, co-owner with Nancy Pollina of Don Apparel at 1119 Elmwood. Don Apparel is a vintage clothing and collectible shop and has been at the same location for nearly 14 years.

The city's Common Council is expected to vote on the proposal on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 at 2:00 PM in Council Chambers, on 13th floor in City Hall.

The Planning Board is expected to vote on the proposal on Tuesday, March 28, at 8:00 AM in room 902 on the 9th floor of City Hall.

Even if the Common Council approves the proposal, the Planning board will get the final say in the matter.

So far, no other protests are scheduled. Organizers say they will wait until the Common Council votes before organizing any more protests.

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