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Uniland to build $10 million, 5-story building on Delaware

Uniland Development Co. has unveiled designs for a new five-story office building on Delaware Avenue downtown.

The Amherst developer Wednesday said it has chosen a design from Buffalo architectural firm Hamilton Houston Lownie for its long-planned building at 285 Delaware Ave., between Chippewa and Tupper streets.

Brian T. Cook, Uniland's director of planning, said the developer had conducted a design competition to come up with a "landmark building" for the vacant parcel which was once home to National Gypsum's headquarters.

"Only a firm with local roots could possess the understanding and sensitivity necessary to design a building that compliments the existing fabric of Delaware Avenue and the spirit of our city," Cook said.

Hamilton Houston Lownie's proposal envisions a five-floor, 116,000-square-foot office building featuring dramatic glass bays on its front facade. The building, which will be located on 1.3 acres, will also incorporate 33 underground parking spaces, plus another 73 surfaces slots in the rear.

Uniland, which has owned the Delaware Avenue lot for nearly two decades, has proposed a few renditions of building designs for the site. In 1990, the developer planted a billboard on the land with a drawing of three-story, 77,000-square-foot structure, to test the waters for possible tenants.

More recently Uniland put up another sign depicting a four-story, 80,000-square-foot structure as a teaser for potential tenants. In 2004, the company gained City of Buffalo approvals for that $6.2 million project, but no construction took place.

"We have anticipated developing the site for some time, and are very encouraged that the current business climate demands new Class A office space in the city core," said Uniland Executive Vice President Nancy R. Dobson.

The developer said while it has not presigned any tenants to the proposed office building it has received a number of inquiries about the project. Groundbreaking on what's expected to be a $10 million effort is expected to take place this spring with completion within 12 months.

Uniland is actively marketing the proposed Class A office space to lawyers, accountants and others seeking upscale downtown offices.

This represents Uniland's second major downtown office project in two years. The company partnered with Acquest Development to build the $40 million Niagara Center tower at 130 S. Elmwood Ave. which debuted earlier this year.

The local companies have since sold that eight-story building, which is fully-leased to several federal agencies, to a Nebraska real estate trust for $71 million.


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