Chapman Criticizes Canal St.

Posted by Anonymous

LUSJ reported that last night Chapman (4th Ward) criticized the potential sale of Canal St. to InLighten.

Behind the scenes, several city officials said, Chapman has been highly critical of Greater Lockport Development Corp.’s desire to sell four Canal Street properties to inLighten, a global digital media technologies company.

Out front Wednesday, Chapman proposed that when city-owned property is up for sale or lease, the Council should set “parameters” for the negotiations, not leave them to the GLDC board of directors, alone.
 While I'm not opposed to Chapman's desires (it is good to have some benchmarks) I fail to see the downside of 100 higher paying jobs and a million plus in investment in the downtown core. While the "tourist" aim got us the funding to clean up the block, the isolation of the street from the rest of downtown, the missing buildings in the street scape and the fact that the largest building mid block has not store frontage the aim was not on the mark for the best use without further build out of the block. The wine emporium at the Pine St. end would have been nice but it can do just as well on Main st. It is not like the buildings are being sold cheap to make a dollar store.

Concentrate the commercial interests along Main St. It has a lot of continuity gaps that still need to be filled in with people drawing uses. Let canal street get back into private hands, grow jobs that will pay much more than retail and get 100 more people downtown on a daily business. Move the gazebo to allow for a new building. It can be part of any new green space at the parking ramp site.

The problem with envelopes: Somebody has to foot the bill for interior buildout, either the tenant/buyer or GLDC. The agency doesn’t have the cash — and neither, it seems, do most small businesspeople who’ve expressed interest in a building.

Late last year, inLighten proposed buying all four buildings, for $100,000, and investing $1.5 million in development of new company headquarters on the block. The Depew-based business would move 70 jobs here and create 25 new jobs, according to its proposal. Its annual payroll is said to be about $4.5 million; and the paychecks go to engineers, software developers and programmers, tech support specialists, editorial staff.

“Nobody else has come running to us and said, ‘We’ll put a million dollars into this,’” GLDC board member Chris Boron said.

Nobody else has proposed a business that would bring 100 jobs and year-round additional foot traffic downtown, either, Murphy said...
UPDATE: 02/25/10
The Buffalo News also reported

As company officials consider other locations, Aldermen Andrew D. Chapman and Joseph D. Kibler raised the issue over the site included in a potential deal to attract inLighten, a digital screen maker.
Chapman said he would prefer a tourism-related use for Canal Street, telling other city leaders his “dream” would be to have an offshoot of Rochester’s Strong Museum locate in the spot that has been the subject of negotiations between the Greater Lockport Development Corp. and inLighten since late last year.
Let's keep dancing around while some other area lays out the welcome mat and we lose out. With inLighten, MTC etc we could maybe start branding the city as a place to do 21st century business (or at the least 20th). The effort should be to get the same lines Yahoo is getting ran to and thru DT. Actively market it and the companies that would now be here. I know of one software company (was on Robinson) that left the town because the data lines were not fast enough for their remote programming etc. More 50k+ jobs out of Lockport and off to Amherst.

Tourist Canal St was a nice (if unrealistically hopeful idea.) We've had a much better one knock on our door. Don't chase it away. Pull it in and lock the door behind it. ;) A healty 21st century corporate presence DT will go a lot farther in impressing visitors than another restuarant and antique shop.


Rocketboy said...

inLighten is by far the best proposal for these buildings, and the quicker the city (via the GLDC) gets rid of these, the better. The canal street redevelopment was a great idea, but a terrible plan.

Also, if you get 100 people into downtown every work day that were not before, that will be incentive for even more investment. A much better investment than building something and hoping people will come to visit.

Anonymous said...

As nice as tourist related jobs are, some nice paying ones are even better. ;)

Anonymous said...

What a moron! Is Mr. Chapman just another in a long line of politicians who go out of their way to throw up any road block they can to stop development in Lockport in order to get his name in the paper? Half of Ulrich's building space remains empty so why would anyone think we need more commercial space for Tourist shops that are only in business for 3 months of the year?
The Council needs to do anything they can to support the GLDC and the inLighten project. Lockport needs to show that this is where companies want to locate and you can't do that with seasonal low paying jobs.

Anonymous said...

Wow this Chapman is starting out to be a beauty!

He has to sit back and think about is he pushing his own personal agenda's or is he voting his wards wishes?

Anonymous said...

I'm still open to the fact that he is still trying to keep his campaign promises of looking into things more, etc. The only problem is that while he is looking into things he is also tampering with things that are not broken at this moment. Why mess with the one success (the concert series) and a possible other one (inLighten)?

There has to be a better way to show that he is looking into things and questioning them with out possibly making a mess. There a million other things that can make the city better. Don't mess with two that already are.

Anonymous said...

$15,000 a year for some small retail jobs and more grant money to help the businesses build out the space or 4x the jobs paying 3 times as much where they will build out the space themselves? It should be 1000% for.

And as for the gazebo getting in the way of possible inLighten new build expansion in the future...I'd be happy to hook my truck up to it, rip it out and drag it into the gorge in the middle of the night. ;)

Rocketboy said...

If he wants something to question, how about why Lockport is in top running for the "Least Plowed Streets in WNY" award this year, and why we have to close down schools because the roads are so bad. At least, the only two reasons that I can see for closing the schools yesterday is that the roads were unplowed, or the teachers wanted a long weekend (again) (yes, that does factor into the reasoning sometimes).

Anonymous said...

We are privileged to have a successful businessman like Mr. Chapman bring his expertise to the council. If more elected representatives had personal financial credentials like Mr. Chapman's our city would be in much better standing. I personally think that those who have previously filed for bankruptcy should be banned from running for office...and then hiring "friends and family" once elected!

Rocketboy said...

Yep, he's had the best ideas so far....


A member of his church by any chance?;)

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