What’s next for Garden Village Plaza?
A name change, for starters.
After Benderson Development Co. ruled out the plaza as the new home for the Super Flea on Walden Avenue, which closed in late May, residents renewed their complaints about deteriorating conditions at the more than 20-acre site at Union and French roads in Cheektowaga, which was developed in the early 1970s.
Earlier this month, Benderson filed an application to change the zoning of the 177,354-square-foot plaza building from retail business to light manufacturing, paving the way for its redevelopment into office and warehouse space. Plans also call for constructing an additional building measuring 163,787 square feet.
The new name for the complex would be Garden Village Commerce Park.
A representative for Benderson could not be reached to comment Tuesday, but the developer has scheduled an informational meeting for 6 p.m. today in South Line Fire Hall, 1049 French Road. The project will be before the town Planning Board next month.
“I’m excited,” Town Supervisor Mary F. Holtz said Tuesday afternoon. “We finally got to a position where we’re getting something done with Garden Village.”
Noting the number of existing warehouses nearby, Holtz said: “It fits the area. As long as it’s done properly it should work.”
“Retail’s no longer going to work there,” she said.
According to documents filed with the town, the new office/warehouse would be built in front of the part of the plaza that once housed a Hills Department Store. Truck docks would be located on the west side of the old building, and the north and east sides of the new.
Overall, the number of parking spaces would drop from 666 to 371.
Traffic is expected to increase substantially, documents note, with a projected 150 trucks per day. Peak traffic conditions are expected to occur in the morning and operations would run 24/7.
When Benderson acquired the plaza in early 2006, its tenants included an indoor flea market. Meanwhile, the developer already owned the Walden Avenue property housing the Super Flea.
As plans to build a Walmart Supercenter on the Walden Avenue site progressed, there was a time when the Super Flea was expected to be moved to Garden Village Plaza and turned into a more upscale market. Holtz said she liked that idea, although it, too, would have been a weekends-only enterprise.
The town supervisor sees a future in warehousing.
“This could be more of a long-term development here,” she said.