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PLANNING BOARD GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO 14-THEATER COMPLEX

Members of the Planning Board gave approval Wednesday night for the Benderson Development Co. Inc. of Buffalo to build a 14-theater movie house on the company's plaza at 750 Builders Way.

Two Benderson representatives met with seven of the nine Planning Board members to discuss five concerns raised by Thomas J. DeSantis, the city's senior planner.

The Planning Board was apparently satisfied by changes Benderson has made since submitting its original plans.

DeSantis' earlier concerns were:

A traffic study, which Judy A. Ames, development coordinator for Benderson, submitted to the board members.

The lack of fencing and/or trees.

Ms. Ames had told the board members that Regal Cinemas of Knoxville, Tenn., the tenant for the property, has a problem with the Planning Board's request for trees in the parking lot.

She said the developer is concerned that trees planted on the I-190 side of the movie theater sign would eventually block it from view.

DeSantis said it would be acceptable to have only a few trees, away from the sign, and instead plant bushes and flowers in the islands in the parking lot.

The state Department of Transportation's concern that there are too many entrances into the 45,000-square-foot plaza.

Ms. Ames said her company reduced four entrances from Girard Avenue to three and changed two entrances from Builders Way to three.

The internal safety traffic control (stop signs, concrete islands in the parking lot). DeSantis said Benderson officials had addressed those with revisions.

Lack of a sidewalk along Girard Avenue the entire length of the plaza property.

Board members did not say the sidewalk must be in place when the movie house opens but indicated a sidewalk must be installed as the plaza is further developed.

After the approval, Ms. Ames said she expects the movie complex with 2,620 seats to open in the spring. James A. Rumsey, architect for Benderson, said it will cost Regal Cinemas between $2 million and $2.5 million to construct the theaters.

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