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Final approval on hold for hotel at Amherst's Northtown Center

Uniland Development Co. has to wait at least another month to find out the fate of a Hampton by Hilton hotel the company wants to build at Amherst's Northtown Center.

The town Planning Board on Thursday voted 4-2 to table Uniland's site-plan application. The board wants to learn more about the company's storm water management system and about how the project fits within the larger recreational area.

Uniland plans to build a 105-room, four-story hotel with nearly 115 parking spaces at 1615 Amherst Manor Drive, at the town's ice rink complex off Millersport Highway. The company's initial cost estimate of $11 million has now grown to $15.5 million.

Uniland would own the hotel and make lease payments to the town.

“We worked with the Town of Amherst and the Northtown Center on the site plan to be sure it meets their needs. We will continue to work with them so that all parties can have a successful project that enhances the town’s recreation offerings and creates a positive economic impact for the town and region,” Jill Pawlik, senior marketing manager for Uniland, said in an email.

The Planning Board last August recommended against rezoning the hotel site, but the Town Board overruled the Planning Board and approved the zoning change.

The project received a mixed reaction at Thursday's public hearing. A Uniland official touted the benefits the hotel would bring to Northtown Center users and to the town.

But several residents said the payout to the town was minimal, Amherst has too many hotels already and the project would pave over valuable recreational space.

Park land next to the Northtown Center on Amherst Manor Drive where Uniland plans to construct a Hampton by Hilton hotel. The Amherst Planning Board tabled its reivew of the project site plan at its March board meeting. (News file photo)

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