The City of Tonawanda has agreed to sell a 14-acre vacant, wooded lot along Little League Drive for $160,000 to David Home Builders so the developer can build 95 townhouse-style condominiums.
The proposed project, which is subject to planning and zoning board approvals, would include 95 single-story, attached homes, with two-car garages, two-plus bedrooms, two-full baths, and patios. One road through the property will connect from Fletcher Street to Veterans Park.
It would be the first subdivision of new homes built in the City of Tonawanda in about three decades.
The site is currently known as the Little League Drive Subdivision and the project has been named Riverwalk Villas by David Home Builders.
City of Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis signed an agreement late last week to allow the home builder to purchase the lot. David Home owner David Stapleton presented the city with an array of concepts in September 2015 and this past April the city named David Homes as the preferred developer while a contract was negotiated.
Although the project has moved one step closer to completion, it is not a done deal, said Common Council President Jenna N. Koch. "There's a long way to go for this. They have to meet with the Planning Board and the Zoning Board, but this is a step in the right direction."
Fourth Ward Councilman Timothy J. Toth, whose ward includes the land, has been a vocal opponent of the project and said he campaigned against the development two years ago. But at Tuesday night's Common Council meeting, Toth said he was ready to see the deal move forward. He said Stapleton has worked with residents to make sure their concerns were heard, which he said "certainly changed my opinion of the project."
He told residents after the meeting that David Home Builders had made a concessions on the roads going in and out of the subdivision, buffer zones and easements and has agreed to put in lights, curbing, roads, sidewalks - all the infrastructure - before the deed is granted.
"There's probably a million dollars in infrastructure so there's the trade-off," he told residents who thought the selling price was too low.
Toth said his best guess is that the project will not break ground until next spring.
Toth said the project manager will continue to meet with the neighbors and encouraged residents to attend Planning Board meetings and be part of the process.
Koch said there is limited land in the city for development and the council has tried for 12 years to develop that property.
Chuck Gilbert, 1st Ward councilman, said during Tuesday's meeting that city officials started putting this concept together with another builder eight years ago.
"It's been a long eight years. There's still a long way to go, but it's very encouraging to see a new development in the city," said Gilbert.
The Common Council also voted Tuesday to have outside counsel look over the agreement with David Homes, hiring the Hodgson Russ firm to review the negotiations and assist with a final agreement.