Niagara Falls Redevelopment, the investment vehicle owned by Manhattan billionaire Howard Milstein that has acquired more than 140 acres of prime real estate in downtown Niagara Falls, has relocated its local office — raising eyebrows in political circles.
Roger Trevino is now working on the third floor of 800 Main Street, across the street from Niagara Falls City Hall. Curiously, Mayor Bob Restaino‘s private law office — where he conducts wide-ranging discussions on city affairs — is located on the same floor.
NFR has long been criticized for making few, if any, serious efforts to develop the parcels, intending instead to speculatively hold the land until the City or State government becomes so fed up with the speculative behavior that it uses eminent domain to acquire the properties.
In recent weeks, NFR and Restaino have placed content in The Buffalo News regarding two ostensibly competing proposals: an elusively described data center, to which there is no named developer or tenant, and a medium sized event center that Restaino’s administration is proposing, presumably with the intention of seeking state funding for the project.
Restaino was early in proposing the use of eminent domain to acquire the property. Trevino has publicly claimed that a data center has been proposed by a viable entity, but he is unwilling to provide any substantiating details. Few political observers believe Trevino to be a reliable source of information on the issue.
Critics allege that Trevino and Restaino are conspiring to defraud the City of Niagara Falls by intentionally using eminent domain in a flawed manner, allowing NFR to seek millions of dollars in alleged damages in court.