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Developer building upscale Amherst housing project around historic water tower

Marrano/Marc Equity is ready to begin construction on its $42 million Windstone development of patio homes, townhomes and condominiums in Amherst.

The homebuilder is awaiting approval from the state Attorney General's Office for its offering plan. The development would be governed by a homeowner's association under New York's condominium laws, and homebuyers would be eligible for tax breaks.

Marrano would start work on the model patio home at Windstone within the next two weeks to 30 days, said Pat Marrano, president of Marrano/Marc Equity.

Marrano envisions building 42 patio homes, 40 townhomes and 48 condominiums, with construction beginning first with the patio and townhomes and followed by the condos, which the builder calls villas.

Marrano said utilities and storm and sanitary sewer lines are going in now and the roads into the property should be paved by June or July.

The property is located between Sheridan Drive and Main Street, to the east of Youngs Road. It is located next to the Miller Tennis Center and just east of Marrano's Greythorne luxury patio home development, a $76 million, 117-home gated community now in its third phase.

"It's a spectacular location," Marrano said of the 20-acre Windstone site on the Onondaga Escarpment. "You can't find it anyplace else in Amherst."

Marrano had planned to begin construction last year. The homebuilder's initial estimate of $35 million for the project has risen to $42 million because of upgraded options Marrano is including as standard, increased costs that come with the one-year delay and other factors, Marrano said.

The patio homes will range from $350,000 to $400,000; the townhomes will range from $275,000 to $350,000; and the condos will range from $225,000 to $250,000, Marrano said. That compares to Greythorne, where larger homes with higher-end amenities sell for an average price of $700,000.

Marrano said he expects to complete the development over the next three years, depending on how sales go.

The homebuilder was required to preserve a historic water tower that is on the property. Named after Josephine Goodyear, the octagonal tower is 65 feet tall and has windows. At the town's behest, Marrano built a few parking spaces at the foot of the tower for visitors. Marrano previously received various rezonings and subdivision approvals.

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