Glass Industry

Luxury Glass Tower Plan for Park Lane Site Shown

Glass Industry News Recommended by Concept Patterns - The Luxury Tower 

The luxury tower to be built on the longtime site of the Park Lane restaurant at Gates Circle will be a sleek 23-story glass building with 68 upscale condos, the developer’s newly unveiled plans show.

The building would be the tallest residential structure in the region, and the condos will start at $450,000 and soar to more than $2 million for the penthouse.

"We probably went through 20 revisions of the design before arriving at this one," said Uniland Development Corp. Vice President Michael Montante. "We believe it will be a beautiful new landmark for Buffalo."

The project has been controversial since it was first announced last July, and residents of the nearby Park Lane Condominiums say they plan to file legal action to stop it from being built.

The $55 million tower — designed by Diamond & Schmidt Architects of Toronto, with Buffalo’s Hamilton Houston Lownie — features a two-story limestone base topped by a glass and bronze metal tower.

Among its features is an internal lobby wall covered with vegetation that will serve as a "biofilter" for the structure’s air systems. "The design is amazingly elegant and appropriate for the grand boulevard setting," said Matthew W. Meier of Hamilton Houston Lownie.

The residential tower would be situated on the west side of Gates Circle, across Delaware Avenue from Millard Fillmore Hospital. It is located at the south end of the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Chapin Parkway.

Meier acknowledges the proposed tower is unlike any other structure in the historic neighborhood but said that was the goal of the architects.

"We did not want to mimic any of the existing buildings. That creates false history," Meier said.

Uniland held an informational session for neighborhood residents Wednesday night to unveil the design. The renderings failed to sway the opinion of Park Lane Condominiums residents, who live next to the proposed project and have voiced opposition to the concept since it was announced.

"I don't think it's at all attractive. It's a tall, homely, commercial- looking building," said Park Lane resident Carol Collard, who has collected about 2,000 signatures on an anticondo tower petition.

The residents have retained Buffalo attorney Richard Lippes and plan to take legal action to block its construction. Their key objection is the height of the proposed tower, which they claim will block views, sunlight and air flow to their adjacent 10-story building.

"Once they file their plans with the city, we’ll begin an action. This building is environmentally and aesthetically inappropriate," Collard said.

In an attempt to reduce the building’s impact on surrounding structures, Uniland and its architects decided on a 6,800- square-foot footprint for the tower, while floors three through 23 would occupy 6,400 square feet.

By comparison, the existing Park Lane restaurant building occupies 11,000 square feet of the 34,000-square-foot parcel.

Designers also propose to position the building so it is 175 feet off Gates Circle and a minimum of 75 feet from neighboring buildings. And resident parking will be tucked under the building to mitigate its impact, with space for 123 vehicles on two underground levels.

The developer also has signed du Toit Allsopp Hiller, an international landscape architecture firm based in Ottawa, to do extensive landscape work that would complement the adjacent Olmsted parkway.

Uniland is expected to file formal project plans with the city in the next few days, and it is likely to go before the Buffalo Planning Board for review next month. The developer also will prepare a condominium application with the state attorney general’s office, a process that will take up to six months.

But even when those hurdles are crossed, Uniland won’t start construction until half of the upscale units are presold.

"Ideally, we want to be north of a 50 percent threshold before it's a go," Montante said.

Uniland is an experienced commercial development company, with a portfolio that includes about 6 million square feet of space, with more than 1 million square feet of primarily office space in Buffalo. The company has developed some residential buildings, including three Canisius College dormitories, but 33 Gates Circle will be its first condominium venture.

Source: Buffalo News