Uniland’s 12-story Delaware-Chippewa project wins key approval - The Buffalo News

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Uniland’s 12-story Delaware-Chippewa project wins key approval

A major project at a high-profile downtown intersection won approval from the city Planning Board in a 5-0 vote Tuesday.

Uniland Development Co.’s proposal for a 12-story hotel, office and retail complex at Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street won necessary support from the board, which commended the company for being responsive to the board and for meeting with the neighborhood.

“I think it’s a beautiful building,” said board member Cynthia Schwartz.

The company has agreed to move the entrance to the parking ramp away from the loading dock, both of which are on Chippewa, and to limit the hours of deliveries, so that students walking to and from Hutchinson-Central Technical High School are not affected.

Architects also added a canopy on Elmwood Avenue for a bus stop and pushed the building farther into the block - five or six feet along Chippewa and four feet on Elmwood – to allow for plantings or an expanded sidewalk.

The company could start construction Jan. 1, but that is dependent on other approvals, said Uniland Vice President Michael J. Montante. The project will go before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals later this month.

Uniland is working with potential tenants, Montante said, adding that the location has drawn a lot of interest.

The new building will dramatically change the current landscape on the corners of Delaware at Chippewa and Elm-wood at Chippewa.

Neighbors had been present at other meetings to voice their concerns about the project, but they were not in attendance Tuesday.

West Village resident Barbara H. Willis, reached after the meeting, said the community is still concerned about how the parking ramp will impact the neighborhood west of Elmwood Avenue.

“It’s just wrong to put up something that is so jarring to the residential architecture,” Willis said.

She is hopeful that the Preservation Board, which already approved the project but is still working with the company on the ramp, will encourage improvements to the structure.

The Preservation Board has already agreed to allow the company to tear down the Delaware Court building and build in its place.

Though the board has no more statutory authority over the project, the company has agreed to work with the board on the parking ramp design.

Architects reiterated their commitment Tuesday to re-create the existing terracotta design, something it pledged it would do when it went before the Preservation Board.

“The whole facade will be rebuilt in a terracotta,” said Martin Davidson, a principal with Diamond Schmitt Architects.

email: jterreri@buffnews.com

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