A victory for Lackawanna
Lackawanna will reap the job and tax benefits of Erie County’s new focus on redevelopment of the Bethlehem Steel site on the west end of town. But this vast expanse of once-polluted brownfields isn’t the only part of town the city is focusing on.
As businesses and developers take a fresh look at what’s happening in the city just south of Buffalo, it’s catalyzing Lackawanna’s own economic development efforts in other areas, particularly involving six city-owned properties. which are now vacant but ready for re-use in downtown Lackawanna and neighborhoods.
A third of the city’s available land is former industrial land, and all but one of the six target properties are located in the city’s Brownfield Opportunity Zone and Opportunity Zones, making them even more attractive for redevelopment.
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And it’s part of Mayor Annette Iafallo’s vision since taking office two years ago – to fill and revitalize neighborhoods, increase tax revenue and create better connections to nearby cultural and recreational destinations, like the Basilica. Our Lady of Victory, South Park, Botanical Gardens and Seaway Trail.
“It increases our tax base,” Iafallo said. “These are jobs for our residents and help revitalize our city.”
Flexlume Sign Co. has already purchased a vacant 4-acre parcel on Albright Court – formerly a low-income housing complex – for a new $2 million office and manufacturing plant, where it will relocate 20 employees from Buffalo by the end of the year. Empire Building Diagnostics, a local demolition and remediation company, is moving its 70-person operation from Depew to a 73,000 square foot building it purchased at 400 Ingham Ave.
The city is seeking proposals to redevelop the 1.3-acre property at 539 Ridge Road – formerly St. Barbara’s Catholic Church. He also hopes for a mixed-use project with a grocery store on 2.5 acres at 264 Ridge, which was once the site of the Friendship House community center until it was torn down 20 years ago.
The larger property was later subdivided, with nonprofit Community Services for Every1 using part of the land to build its $8.5 million affordable housing community called Ridgeway Commons, comprising 32 one- and two-bedroom apartments. rooms, some of which are intended for people with intellectual or physical disabilities. . This project was completed in 2018, but the remaining land is still available.
The city has also received requests for warehousing or light manufacturing space for a 6.5-acre L-shaped parcel at 1 Alliance Drive, adjacent to Empire Diagnostics and across Dona Street. . Indeed, Empire is one of the firms that have shown interest.
Additionally, there is a 2.5 acre open parcel on Wilmuth Avenue, also intended for light manufacturing or warehouse use. And officials hope townhouses or apartments will be built at 100 Dona, on the 2.2-acre site of the former Lincoln Annex High School that Friendship House later used for administrative offices until it was demolished 25 years ago and taken over by the city.
“We focus on those areas here. We’re open to all ideas,” Iafallo said. “I want this to happen.”
The city also wants to create a new recreational wading pool at the west end of Franklin Playground near Center Street, and a new pocket park at South Park Avenue and Ridge Road, which is expected to open by June. And he hopes to see the redevelopment of several private but highly visible properties, including a former Sunoco gas station at 1361 Abbott Road, as well as vacant lots at 1271 and 2048 Abbott, and a corner building at 2719 South Park.
Want to know more? Three stories to catch up with you:
• Flexlume plans to move to a new location in Lackawanna after property purchase
• OLV seeks to create a non-profit campus in Lackawanna
• Erie County seeks developers for second phase of Bethlehem Steel Business Park
Welcome to Buffalo Next. This newsletter from The Buffalo News will bring you the latest coverage on the changing economy of Buffalo Niagara – from real estate to healthcare to startups. Learn more at BuffaloNext.com.
THE SOFTNESS OF HOME
The big picture: Homebuilder David Stapleton, owner of David Homes and Vanderbilt Properties, wants to build a community of patio homes in West Seneca. Located on 11.6 acres at 4592 Seneca St., Ebenezer Landing would include 31 detached patio homes along a new private road that ends in a cul-de-sac, as well as 23 townhouse villas in five clusters of buildings arranged near the front of Seneca.
Tell me more: Each of the one-story, two-bedroom patio homes would feature 1,598 square feet of living space, with a back deck or patio and two-car garage, plus the option to add a 269-square-foot bonus room. On the second floor . The villa buildings would each consist of four to six one-story, two-bedroom units, with an attached garage for each unit.
Why is it important: The project shows the continued popularity of patio homes, which offer attractive first-floor living for seniors and seniors looking to downsize. At the same time, it also shows the duration of these projects, as Carmina Wood Morris plans show that the project has been in the works before West Seneca officials since at least 2016.
THE LAST, IN CONTEXT
What: After closing permanently in 2019, the Gander Outdoors store in Tonawanda is set to become indoor self-storage, thanks to a familiar-named Rochester real estate developer – Wegman.
Wegman Cos. – which is unrelated to the supermarket chain – wants to convert the vacant 71,480 square foot retail building at Youngmann Plaza into temperature-controlled storage units, as well as 15,350 square feet of outdoor vehicle storage and of boats.
Tell me more: Located at 880 Young, the 16.6-acre place is owned by the Cofinance Group. According to a request to the Town of Tonawanda Planning Board, the project only requires 24 parking spaces, but the developer will retain the existing 250 spaces as they are needed by other nearby tenants – particularly Tops Markets, but also Texas Roadhouse and McDonald’s. Other tenants in the square include Big Lots and Family Dollar.
Why is it important: This is the first project in the Buffalo market for Wegman Cos., which normally specializes in the development of single-family homes, seniors, townhouses and rental units. The family business has been in operation for over 45 years, with assisted living and memory care communities in New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Maryland, in partnership with Columbia Housing for Seniors of the Pacific.
It has also developed apartments in New York and Pennsylvania in partnership with Riedman Cos., and has built 400 single-family homes since 1986 through its Horizon Homes division, mostly in seven subdivisions.
Five reads from Buffalo Next:
1. Build a New Buffalo Bills Stadium expected to create 10,000 local jobs for construction workers but some contractors feel left out due to the stadium pact, including plans for a project labor agreement that requires contractors to pay prevailing wages.
2. The remarkable revival of the house of Bethlehem Steel: With a handful of new developments, and more on the way, the gated Bethlehem Steel complex is becoming a sign of renewal.
3. For WNY workers, experience really pays off: Experienced workers in Western New York earn more than twice as much, on average, as entry-level employees.
4. M&T Bank pledges $300,000 to EforAll entrepreneurship program in Buffalo: EforAll, which opened an office in Buffalo in May 2021, is a national nonprofit organization that helps people from underrepresented communities start and grow their own businesses.
5. The state budget includes capital funding for the new UB Engineering Building: The budget includes $68 million for the University at Buffalo to construct a new building for its engineering school.
Keep up to date with news related to Buffalo Niagara’s economy:
Kaleida Health’s HighPointe on Michigan nursing home in Buffalo has been hit with a $40,000 fine by the state health department – tied for the 11th-largest fine the health department has imposed on any nursing home in the past two decades – due to the frequency of Covid-19 testing and missed temperature tests of some employees.
Startup 43North Top Seedz has a famous fan: Gwyneth Paltrow: Twice in two weeks, award-winning actress and lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow has featured Top Seedz crackers and seeds on her social media pages, which has millions of followers.
Some companies, such as Independent Health and Freed Maxick, are embracing “hospitality,” where remote employees book a workstation for the days when they come to the office to do their job, rather than having their own dedicated desk.
Hiring is accelerating, but the region has a lot of catching up to do: Businesses are heading into a potential downturn with a reduced workforce rather than a full workforce. It would certainly reduce the pressure to cut staff if things went wrong.
Robert C. Morgan didn’t just plead guilty to a mortgage fraud-related felony this week. The promoter and the owner have also signed documents returning $16.3 million which prosecutors alleged stemmed from fraud by Morgan and others around him.
The Buffalo startup raises $100 million for a green idea: rechargeable excavators: “When you put energy storage where energy is used, you really transform the way we rely on and depend on energy, and you make it completely resilient,” said Viridi Parente Chief Executive Officer. , Jon Williams. “That’s what we really built.”
The Buffalo Next team gives you insight into the economic revitalization of the region. Contact real estate and development reporter Jonathan D. Epstein at (716) 849-4478 or email him at [email protected]
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