Location, location, location.
That's what makes or breaks real estate, and in Hamburg, officials are taking a second look at one of the best commercial areas in the town: Camp Road.
Ten minutes from downtown Buffalo, this 3.5-mile-long thoroughfare stretches from Lake Erie to the Village of Hamburg, intersecting with three major highways: the Thruway, which exits onto Camp, Route 20 and Route 5.
Once known mainly for its auto dealerships and the former Leisureland truck stop, restaurant and motel plaza, Camp Road in recent years has attracted more restaurants, motels, a real estate office and soon, a Bryant & Stratton Institute campus.
With an eye on redevelopment and new development, the town is working with the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce to come up with an overlay zoning district along Camp Road.
The overlay district hopes to use the carrot instead of the stick approach by encouraging property owners to follow additional requirements, such as architectural guidelines.
The carrot for compliant developers could be economic redevelopment dollars, said Andrew C. Reilly of Wendel, the town's planning consultant.
The chamber has gotten involved with individual property owners and has joined with the town in coming up with the overlay district.
The town has identified four distinct areas of Camp Road that could have slightly different overlay requirements:
The railroad tracks in Athol Springs to Southwestern Boulevard, which is light industrial that would support big commercial businesses and office parks.
Southwestern to the Thruway for automotive uses.
Thruway to Sunset Drive, which is the regional Thruway exit area.
Sunset to the Village of Hamburg line, the transition area between the town and village.
There are major parcels that are keys to the redevelopment. The Liberatore property (former Leisureland) was sold in May to A. Tehebi Corp. for $2,350,000. The Izzo property behind the Penny Wise Motel is in the midst of a rezoning, and 74 acres owned by Uniland Development Co. north of Route 20, is open for development.
"Probably the biggest effort we have is for Uniland's 74 acres," said Michael J. Bartlett, executive director of the Hamburg Industrial Development Agency.
He said it is one of the top three parcels brought to the attention of businesses looking to come to Hamburg. Uniland has proposed 13 buildings on the property next to Lakeside Memorial Park, with light assembly/office fronting on Camp, office and research facilities in the center of the property and distribution and light industrial to the rear.
Commerce Place adjacent to the Thruway has developed into an important parcel as well, with Bob Evans Restaurant and Red Roof Inn, Stovroff & Potter Real Estate, medical office already in place and a 30,000 square-foot Bryant & Stratton campus and 63-room Comfort Inn planned.