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Uniland seeks demolition of second Hertel-Elmwood building

Uniland Development Co. is seeking city permission to tear down a damaged 64-year-old warehouse on Hertel Avenue, just two months after demolishing a fire-ravaged structure around the corner on Elmwood Avenue.

The Amherst-based developer is applying to the Buffalo Preservation Board for approval to "partially demolish or possibly entirely demolish" the 50,152-square-foot building at 766-800 Hertel Ave.

The company says it's planning to build new mixed-use, office or retail space on the site, as part of a larger redevelopment of over 20 acres in the North Buffalo community that Uniland is acquiring from the Deni family.

"This is part of our ongoing process to reuse the property with a mix of retail, residential and office space," said Uniland spokeswoman Jill Pawlik. "Our intent is to reuse the back portion of the property and build a modern retail center around it.”

Erected in 1954 and formerly occupied by Denny Machine, the concrete-block warehouse has a flat roof, 20-foot ceilings and dock doors, but is otherwise not "unique or innovative," according to the company's application to the city. Moreover, Uniland said the roof has "numerous" leaks, so the building has sustained water damage for several years.

Additionally, the developer wrote in a letter to Buffalo Senior Planner Christopher Hawley, the window spaces were blocked in with concrete. And it "has no salvageable qualities or amenities," aside from its high-bay loading dock on the west side and "ample parking."

The request comes two months after Uniland demolished the vacant and condemned former Dow Building at 1820 Elmwood, which had been ravaged in a fire two years earlier. The one-story brick-and-steel industrial structure, located on two acres, had been vacant since the former owners removed the portion of the building that suffered heavy damage in an April 2015 fire.

Both buildings were among a group of properties totaling nine acres that Uniland bought from the Deni family in October 2017 for $5 million. That's part of larger purchase of 20 acres of commercial real estate in all at the Elmwood-Hertel intersection, where Uniland and partner Blue Cardinal Capital are planning a mixed-use concept that will include retail, office, industrial and residential space.

The companies have not revealed specific details of their plans, which officials have said are still in flux while they talk with potential tenants. They have also not completed the rest of the land purchase yet.

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