Kingdom Carl

This is where Carl Paladino's $500 million empire began, when he acquired the building in 1978. It is a source of pride, as well as his main firm's name, Ellicott Development, though Paladino has used a number of other companies, as well.

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The Ellicott Square Building was designed by famed Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. He is known for the aphorism "make no small plans," which he certainly followed on this illustriously detailed building.

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When the Ellicott--named for Joseph Ellicott, the first planner of Buffalo--opened in 1897, it was the largest office building in the world, and remained so for 16 years. It was a sign of Buffalo's former glory, something Paladino's company is hoping to restore and capitalize one.
After the success of the Ellicott Building, Paladino began investing in other of Buffalo's grand old--yet ignored--buildings, such as the Crosby, an eight-story Art Deco building from 1916.

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The Crosby was also once home to a gay bar, a fact pointed out by the Daily News following the candidates controversial remarks about homosexuals. In addition to Buddies II, the Paladinos ran Cobalt, pictured here, which was sold in 2006 and is being transformed into a private residence.

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Not all of Ellicott's 2 million square feet of offices in Buffalo are prewar beauties. There are also workhorses like 560 Delaware Avenue, a bland midcentury box.

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Ellicott has also invested in housing in Buffalo, such as this apartment complex, the Sherwood, in the up-and-coming Bryant neighborhood.

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The Belasario is another residential project, a loft conversion in downtown Buffalo. The project has a certain irony to it. Despite Paladino's tea party leanings and anti-tax attitudes, Ellicott used $4 million in tax breaks on this project, yet it only created 25 jobs. The developer has used--some say exploited--such programs statewide.

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Inside the Belesario.

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There are also humble holdings, like 123 Elmwood, which has but four units.

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Paladino has also done deals outside of his native Buffalo, including the Giacomo in Niagara Falls, the 20-story tower at left.

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The Giacomo was built in 1929 and designed by Eiswin and Johnson for the United Hotel Company, at the time the nation's largest hotelier. The building has been restored and will house a mix of apartments and hotel rooms.

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Unlike the Giacomo, most of Paladino's hotels are decidedly downmarket, such as the Staybridge Suites, off the highway in West Seneca, outside Buffalo. The Times gave Paladino a hard time about the property because he was staying there at a discounted rate.

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The Days Inn in Buffalo is another one of Ellicott's motels. It was renovated in 2004, according to the company's site, and boasts a pool and fitness center, free wifi, a 24-hour airport shuttle and flat screen TVs in all 129 rooms.

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For all of his development, the heart of Paladino's empire are the cookie-cutter suburban drugstores he has built in New York and Eastern Pennsylvania, like this one in Syracuse.

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Paladino has built 160 drugstore-anchored strip malls, including this one in Canastota, outside Oswego. The would-be governor has been accused of strong-arming homeowners to get the property he needs for his projects.

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One of his strip malls in Niagra Falls is home to a Planned Parenthood, which the Post called hypocritical given Paladino's professed opposition to abortion.

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A decade ago, Paladino tore down a bowling alley to make way for one of his drugstores. Days before the primary, Rick Lazio dredged up news that the developer had been slapped with a felony for improperly clearing the site of asbestos before tearing it down. Paladino responded with a calm commercial and proceeded to trounce his rival at the polls.

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In additional to all those strip malls, Ellicott has developed a number of parking lots in Buffalo, which have also drawn scorn from the press and the public.

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And yet it is not all trash-strewn lots and chain stores as Paladino returns to his old job. There is 50 Court Street, a new office tower Ellicott has been trying to build for years. As usual, it faces stiff opposition.

Ellicott Development

Ellicott is also finishing the Pasquale (he loves those Italian names) on the shores of Lake Erie in Buffalo. The condo tower and townhouse project has actually broken Buffalo real estate records with units topping seven figures.

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With the Pasquale's success, and Paladino's, it just goes to show you that "Buffalo development" is not an oxymoron.

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