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Developer unveils plans for One Canalside Former state office building will feature hotel, stores

Benderson Development Co. on Tuesday unveiled renderings of its proposed designs for the former Donovan State Office Building, which has been renamed One Canalside.

Plans for the downtown site, which is one block from the First Niagara Center, include a hotel, restaurants, and office and retail space. The plans were presented to the city Planning Board.

The panel holds only the authority to make a recommendation on the plans. The project will come before the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. board today.

Nonetheless, members of the Planning Board enthusiastically supported the endeavor.

Board member Cynthia Schwartz called it "the perfect backdrop for everything that's going on at the waterfront."

Chairman James K. Morrell echoed the comments of Benderson representatives regarding the significance that the development is privately financed.

Morrell also noted that the project brings the harbor development across Main Street and "deeper into the city."

Three floors of the long-vacant, former state office building will become a 96-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel, with the upper floors used by the Phillips Lytle law firm. The first floor will include space for retail and restaurant uses.

The site also will include two levels of parking, one below grade and one at ground level, with a total of 150 parking spaces.

Benderson Vice President Eric Recoon said the project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2013.

In other matters, the board:

* Approved plans to turn the former storage site for the New York Power Authority's ice boom at 175 Fuhrmann Blvd. into a park.

The project, also being undertaken by Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., will include a dock for a water taxi, as well as trails and a comfort station.

Before the project can move forward, the Common Council must approve the use for the site, which is in the city's coastal review district.

* Approved plans for a Louie's Texas Red Hots, which will be located in a 750-square-foot addition to the front of a building at 1049 Elmwood Ave.

* Approved the site plans for 49 townhouse units in the Fruit Belt proposed by St. John Community Development Corp. The development arm of St. John Baptist Church has proposed constructing 17 buildings of two, three and four units that would be subsidized for renters.

The Council on April 10 unanimously approved the transfer of 50 city-owned parcels for the project. A final sale price has not yet been voted on by lawmakers.

email: abesecker@buffnews.com