Court date "as needed" for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal

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The latest rendition of the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Buffalo, New York — The preliminary hearing for a lawsuit filed against the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, New York as well as the City of Buffalo has been postponed indefinitely and will take place "as needed" pending the resubmission of the proposal by Savarino Construction also of Buffalo. A request was made to New York State Supreme court Judge Justice Rose Sconiers, the judge to preside over the case, to discuss a "timetable" for resubmission, but the court "decided not to," said attorney Arthur Giacalone who represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The hotel would require the demolition of at least five properties, 1109-1121 Elmwood and would cause the closure of several businesses. Already, two businesses, Skunk Tail Glass and Six Nations Native American Gift Shop have relocated, outside the Elmwood Strip. Don apparel, H.O.D. Tattoo and Mondo Video still remain on Elmwood; however, Mondo Video is planning on moving to a new location. The hotel will be 72 rooms and will cost at least 7 million dollars to build. Wyndham Hotels is expected to be the owner/operator of the hotel. The properites are currently owned by Hans Mobius. Two other properties, 605 and 607 Forest might also be part of the proposal. 605 Forest is owned by Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano's Restaurant on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. 607 Forest is owned by Mobius.

"There's no new [court] date. The next appearance will be as needed," said Giacalone.

The proposal was withdrawn by Savarino on July 13, 2006 to undergo "a do-over" and according to the Buffalo News, "shed the lawsuits" against the proposal; however, so far the proposal has "not yet" been resubmitted, but could be in about a "week."

"With Council being out of session we have a bit of time [before resubmitting]. [We will] Probably resubmit] in a week or so," said Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Construction.

"We welcome some discourse on this project and while we realize that, in all likelihood, we will not make everybody happy, we hope we can develop a consensus that what we provide on that corner will be something that is an enhancement to the neighborhood and the community. Better to have that decided (again?) in a public forum and through the approval process than through a debate over points of law in a courtroom," added Savarino.

Despite the withdraw of the proposal, Giacalone states that the lawsuit his clients filed is still in effect due to the re-zoning of the properties, which he says are still in place and that he is "frustrated" that his client's "day in court" has been delayed continuously by Savarino and the city.

Savarino believes that the re-zoning of the properties are "not in effect" because the proposal was withdrawn. He also stated that he is "unsure" on a decision to request the rezoning again because the "city suggested" the rezoning "last time."

"We have pulled the request [proposal] so I would suppose it [the rezoning] is not in effect. We are as of yet unsure of whether or not to request rezoning of all the parcels. We are communicating with the City on this. You may recall that the City suggested this to us last time. We want to make sure we are doing the correct thing – and the proper thing. I am not sure whether I have a clear indication of that at this juncture," said Savarino.

Savarino was asked if the proposal was going to be resubmitted or not, but did not answer the question.

Giacalone states that there may be several resons as to why "a new application has not been filed. Is Savarino having a hard time coming to an agreement with Mobius? Has Wyndham Hotels backed out? Is Savarino negotiating with Pano to buy the [605] Forest Avenue property?"

Buffalo's Common Council is scheduled to meet on September 9, 2006 after Summer recess.

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.


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