Get Ready to "Duke" it out...
Monday thru Friday 1200 people arrive in this little corner of Masten District. They park their cars and go to work on the city's east side at Blue Cross Blue Shield. Soon, they will be able to park their cars in a brand new parking ramp, walk thru a tunnel to their brand new "cubbie" and eat lunch in a brand new cafeteria. Later they will leave the building thru the same tunnel, exit the new parking ramp and drive on a new highway entrance and go home.

Get it...1200 people will be working downtown and never touch a city sidewalk.

While many in Buffalo are rejoicing and thinking we have turned the corner and finally building "density" and the sort of downtown we want, others are beginning to question...what's really happening.

Take a close look at the area...there is no place to walk.
Downtown Buffalo
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I've just acquired these documents that show the more precise location of the new construction.
What is Duke Realty?
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See the "light blue" line on the left. That's Court Street. Duke Realty gets that 6.5 acre parcel (known as 43 Carolina Street) of land just to the north of new building. A major criticism of this new development includes a proposed cul-de-sac and surface parking lot that will in effect truncate Court Street, forever. The area outlined in "yellow" shows the full 6.5 acre site that will be handed over to Duke Realty. Here's another view of 43 Carolina via the google satellite.

What's the big deal? Well the plan, remember the Queen City Hub Plan? The radial street plan that Joseph Ellicott designed was supposed to be re-developed and extended over it's original path, not developed into a surface parking lot.
So what does Duke Realty do...

Duke Realty Corporation was founded in 1972 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The first property developed was Building One at Park 100 Industrial Park on the Northwest side of Indianapolis. More than thirty years later, Park 100 is now one of the largest industrial parks in the United States.

Today, Duke is the largest, publicly-traded, office and industrial property owner in the country with a dominating presence throughout the Midwest and Southeast, with total property ownership of more than 115 million square feet.

So here we are...while fully discussing the "Bass Pro" deal, there has been no public input regarding design and how this new "office park" will supposedly fit into the urban fabric of downtown. Please don't get me wrong. I'm a huge private property rights advocate and love private sector investment. Yet let's remember that no new jobs are being created - a break down of city vs. suburban employees would be helpful...Dennis Gorski, Vice President of Government Affairs for HealthNow. 17 million in incentives are being given away along with 6.5 acres of prime undeveloped real estate.

Ponder this at the water cooler this week:
  • NO new jobs...
  • Isolated "suburban style" office park...for downtown
  • Duke Realty gets a huge favor- 43 Carolina, 6.5 acres is assessed at 2.2 million
  • Prestigious award winning "Queen City Hub" urban plan for Down Town gets scrubbed...
  • Former Erie County Executive Dennis Gorski cashes in old favors to keep the plan a $ecret...
And when is the first public meeting Tony? Come on folks, are we supposed to be taking this laying down. It's kind of like having sympathy for the abused spouse who thinks her husband is a good guy because she hasn't been hit today...

Ah, so much for accountability and transparency. Are we expecting too much?

And so it goes...

Related Post: 1300 Health Care Workers via BuffaloRising. Duke Realty (NYSE- DRE) shares closed up slightly on Friday at $33.13 Look at all the beautiful "suburban style" office parks Duke Realty has built.

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Gabe said...

Oh, great another isolated suburban-style "office park" downtown. Employees will drive in, drive out, and as stated in your post, their feet will never touch downtown pavement. God forbid, peoples effotless motoring be inconveinced in any way, shape, or form.

This partcular develop obviously knows nothing about cities, urban districts, or pedestrian-scales enviornments. All they seem to do is plop the same old hideous 1-2 story office pen surrounded by a parking lagoon.

The only thing project will do for downtown is generate more automobile traffic. Employess will speed out of the parking garage faster than one can utter "downtown," and be home in their isolated cartopic McHome in Amherst or OP, within 20 mins.

Craig said...

good god... another slice of the radial street plan destroyed? I thought we already learned this lesson!