City of Buffalo, N.Y. fighting lawsuit against hotel proposal

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Councilmember Joseph Golombek speaks at a public meeting on March 15, 2006.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Buffalo, New York — Councilmember Joesph Golombek has responded to the lawsuit filed against the city of Buffalo for allegedly 'fast-tracking' a hotel that will be built on the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo. The lawsuit, filed by Attorney Arthur J. Giacalone, was filed in New York State Supreme Court on April 21, 2006.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a 72-room, seven-million-dollar hotel proposed by Savarino Construction Services Corporation and designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. Its construction would require the demolition of at least five buildings, currently at 1109-1121 Elmwood, which house several shops and residents. Although the properties are "under contract," it is still not known whether Savarino Construction actually owns the buildings. It is believed that Hans Mobius, a resident of Clarence, New York and former Buffalo mayoral candidate, is still the owner. The hotel is expected to be a franchise of the Wyndham Hotels group. Buffalo's Common Council, Planning Board, Mayor of Buffalo, Byron W. Brown, Savarino Construction Services Corporation, Hans J. Mobius and his son Hans S. Mobius owners of the properties at stake, Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano's Restaurant on Elmwood, and Cendant Corporation, the parent company of Wyndham Hotels are among those named in the suit.

Councilmember Joesph Golombek said that the Law Department is "fighting the lawsuit because they believe that we did everything fairly and properly (as well as legally)."

Golombek also stated that the lawsuit "could delay the start of the project" and that if he were "Mr. Savarino I would counter sue for any damages a postponement could bring."

"Except for the lawsuit the city is finished with the project. In my opinion I believe those opposed to the project are simply use to the city procrastinating on projects. This one was passed quickly by comparison. Thus part of their frustration." said Golombek.

"I understand the frustration of some of the people opposed to the project. But, in order for Elmwood to grow and thrive it will need to change. This change is a positive for that community," he added.

Golombek also said that he is looking into "helping the displaced businesses."

At least five businesses, Six Nations Gift Shop, Don Apparel, H.O.D. Tattoo, Skunk Tail Glass Company, and Mondo Video, will be forced to close their doors or relocate. Many of the buildings are also home to residents who will also have to move.

"I have personally contacted adjacent and nearby business associations and property owners to ask about the possibility of helping the displaced businesses. Hopefully the project will go through in a timely fashion and the displaced businesses will be able to relocate," said Golombek.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. on June 8, 2006 in the Supreme Court building at 50 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, on the 8th floor, part 31.

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