060215 No NYPA - NG James Neiss/staff photographer Niagara Fall, NY - Frank Parlato Jr., owner of the Niagara One Building, as part of his continued protest against the New York Power Authority, posted a banner reading “Say No To NYPA Relicensing” in the buildings windows.
It’s been known by many names over the years: The Occidental Building, “the Flashcube,” the former AquaFalls site.
These days it’s called One Niagara and if owner Frank Parlato Jr. and city officials have their way, it’ll soon be gone.
On Monday, the City Council will entertain a resolution authorizing Mayor Vince Anello and the principals of One Niagara LLC to negotiate a plan to demolish the building, fill what’s left of the AquaFalls hole and build a surface parking lot in its place.
Parlato wants to make the move for a number of reasons, including an inability to find tenants for the largely vacant structure.
“It’s the wrong building for the area,” he said. “It’s a little obsolete. The building needs a lot of work.”
After demolishing the building, Parlato said it would leave room to create a parking lot equal in size to Niagara Falls State Park’s primary parking lot — but with a significant difference — location.
“You have to pass me to get to them,” he said of the advantage.
Once in the lot, Parlato said he envisions booths and displays pointing out all the Falls has to offer.
“We would direct tourists into the city — not the park,” he said.
A bigger benefit to the city would be a proposed payment of 15 percent of the adjusted gross revenue after taxes and other expenses are factored out and the fact that Parlato would pay taxes on the property.
“If I perform well, (the city) reaps a bonanza — and so do I,” he said.
Parlato said Tuesday that his initial plan calls for the city to bond out $2.1 million to finance the project.
“They use a bond, I pay for it,” he said, adding that he envisions the city holding a first mortgage on his property ensuring his bond payments.
“It’s worth significantly more money than $2.1 million,” he said, estimating its worth between $8 and $10 million.
City officials were less specific on plans for the property. It has been reported that Parlato’s property was being eyed as a site for the proposed Niagara Experience Center.
Administrator Daniel Bristol said the city would release a press release on the plan today.
“Right now it’s jut an authorization to negotiate,” he said of Monday’s council action.
Bristol did call the plan an attempt to enter into public private partnership with the property.
“The city’s going to help a blighted spot and get an opportunity to build some revenue by creating a surface parking,” he said, adding that the city will be operating the parking lot.
While as much as $640,000 in back taxes had been owed on the property after previous developers failed to complete a deal with the county’s Industrial Development Agency on a two-year tax break, Parlato said Thursday that less than $250,000 is currently owed. He said he expected it to be taken care of before a plan goes through with the city.
And Parlato’s expecting big things for the property — and himself.
“I want to be the developer that cuts a deal with the city that future residents don’t regret.”