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RENOVATION STEP CLOSER AT 610 MAIN

Plans to turn a windowless former furniture store at 610 Main St. into condominiums, commercial space and a professional theater moved forward at the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency meeting today.

The agency, headed by Mayor Griffin, decided to turn the nine-story Nemmer Building over to a partnership of Buffalo businessmen for $1. The deal also needs Common Council approval.

Principals in the development company, City Centre Development Corp. are William J. Jones, Joseph A. Petrella and Tino Bellanca. They plan to spend about $22 million in renovations and additions to the vacant building.

In the first phase, the first through fourth floors will be renovated into office and commercial space, the fifth through ninth floors will be made into condos, and a five-story condo addition will be built on top of the building. The condos would sell for as much as $500,000. Two levels of underground parking are also projected in the first phase.

In phase two, developers plan a 1,600-seat professional theater with its lobby extending into the Nemmer Building.

Petrella said condos will sell for $99,000 up to $500,000 for penthouse units. "There is a nice view up there: a great view of the lake and a great view of the Boston hills," he said.

Petrella said the project will rely on persons with a pioneering spirit to live downtown. "Our marketing studies show downtown is ready for this, for people with disposable dollars who will live there 24 hours a day," Petrella said.

The agency also:

Designated Atkin Construction Corp. as developer of scattered sites in the Virginia Street corridor where 10 single houses and 13 doubles are planned. The state's Affordable Housing Program will provide $72,000 to subsidize the purchase price for buyers by $20,000 a unit.

Sold for $1 the former fire house at 131 Southside Parkway to Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo Inc. A state grant of $224,000 will be used to convert the unused building to six apartments for senior citizens.

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