BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Some big ideas are competing for a small piece of turf in the heart of Buffalo's burgeoning waterfront district.
Right outside the front window of First Niagara Center is the Webster Block, a city-owned parking lot that two big names are competing to develop.
Carl Paladino of Ellicott Development said, "We've got a history and an ability that we've proven many, many times to do something like this."
The developer has submitted his plan for a 12-story complex with a hotel, restaurants, shops, apartments, office space and a thousand indoor parking spaces.
Sabres owner Terry Pegula proposes a project also with a hotel, sports bar, shops, and two indoor public ice rinks at the top of a parking garage.
"I question the logic of [the ice rinks]," Paladino said.
The developer thinks the rinks would work better a couple blocks away from First Niagara Center.
He contended, "I don't know where they're going to be parking, but they're going to be carrying those heavy bags and I'm certain that it's going to be very difficult for them to traverse all this on event nights."
First Niagara Center was hosting a Sabres draft party Friday night, so News 4 took the opportunity to ask fans what proposal they prefer.
Mike Nuermberger said, "Obviously being a Sabres fan, I like the idea of having an ice rink down here, especially if it's open to the public."
"I have no preference, because something's got to be done. We're in the heart of downtown Buffalo where the city started and we desperately need hotels in downtown Buffalo," said Mike Ingalsbe.
Andy Hurley opined, "Well, I think Terry Pegula gave them the money to put the sod in (under the Skyway) to get his in, and I think Carl Paladino according to reports has been schmoozing Byron brown, so somebody's looking to get one leg up on the other guy."
There is a third party that has submitted a proposal to City Hall for the Webster Block. But TR Browning Architect tells News 4 that though they submitted a plan, they do not have the money to develop the space.
The developer of the 1.7 acre parcel will be announced in August.
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