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City of Buffalo Press Releases

Posted on: March 16, 2022

Mayor Brown Tours Soon-To-Be-Transformed Mohawk Parking Ramp w/ Designated Developer Douglas Jemal

Seal of the City of Buffalo

Mayor Byron W. Brown today joined developer Douglas Jemal for walking tour of the City’s Mohawk Parking Ramp site, at 477 Washington St., which Jemal’s Douglas Development Corp. will be transforming into a mixed-use hub that will include housing, parking, commercial space, street-level retail and multi-modal mobility links.

Douglas Development, which was selected as the designated developer of the City-owned parking ramp site following an extensive evaluation process, plans to make the 1.1 acre site the anchor of a redeveloped downtown neighborhood which will include transformation of several adjacent and nearby buildings the firm recently acquired.

“Douglas Jemal and his team’s ambitious and innovative plan, which includes a number of public benefit initiatives, went above and beyond the very high bar we set in choosing a developer for this key downtown site,” Mayor Brown said. “Douglas’s broader vision to harness his adjacent properties to reimagine an entire neighborhood will be a game-changer for the equitable growth of downtown Buffalo.”

Douglas Development’s winning proposal goes beyond the physical transformation of the 67-year-old parking ramp, the developer will forgo all governmental subsidies. The firm will also partner with the City to create a special infrastructure fund utilizing property tax proceeds to bolster projects on the edge of downtown and near east side that need a non-conventional financial lift.

Under Douglas Development’s unprecedented plans, the developer will invest approximately $45 million at the Mohawk Parking Ramp site to:

  • Create 200 apartments, including at least 30 affordable units;
  • Add 6 stories to the ramp including four stories of residential and two stories of parking, boosting the number of spaces from 627 to approximately 900 spaces;
  • Create 4,500 square feet of retail and commercial space;
  • Convert the first floor of the redeveloped Mohawk ramp into a “mobility hub” that goes beyond parking,to include electric-vehicle charging stations, and options for people to use the shuttle, electric scooters or bicycles to get around downtown;
  • Increase vibrancy and activate the street through its design including its plans for “Electric Alley,” an alley way to be revitalized into lively commercial and retail space;
  • Partner with Medaille College to create an academic and training curriculum for minority and women contractors and developers, who will work with the Douglas Development Corp. team on projects;
  • Create a free shuttle system – funded by Jemal, to transport around a one-mile loop in downtown Buffalo, with pre-determined stops beyond his properties.

Douglas Development also plans to invest more than $110 million in the former Simon properties, adjacent to the Mohawk site, where it will create an additional 600 residential units, including 15 percent affordable units.

Douglas Development was one of six development teams which submitted proposals in 2021 to reimagine the 1.1 acre Mohawk Parking Ramp site as an anchor in the City’s new Mobility and Innovation Zone in the Lower Main Street neighborhood. Goals for the adaptive reuse of the ramp were guided by the recommendations of the December 2020 “The Future of Mobility: Remaking Buffalo for the 21st Century” study.

In October 2021, the field was cut to three finalists, with the selection committee inviting the public to submit comments to help guide the final selection.

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