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The Planning Board gave final site plan approval Tuesday evening to the Benderson Development Co. Inc. of Buffalo to renovate the former Ames Plaza at 1575 Military Road.

Two town officials who asked to remain anonymous said the Wegmans chain has shown interest in leasing the property.

Paul L. Baker, chairman of the Planning Board, said that Benderson wants to convert the store into a food market. The Planning Board is a recommending body to the Town Board, so the deal is not yet done. The Town Board next meets in a business session at 7 p.m. Oct. 21.

James A. Rumsey, architect for Benderson, said that changes will include renovating about 84,000 square feet of existing building area and reducing the existing square footage to about 119,000 from about 130,000.

Rumsey said he was hoping that the food store would open sometime between the middle and end of 1998.

The company would also like to renovate the exterior facade of the entire plaza, repave and restripe the parking lot, delete the western most curb cut and widen to existing curb cut at the signal light in front of the property. Rumsey said that it will cost about $2.5 million to $3.5 million to renovate the property.

This would be the first Wegmans in the county. The nearest Wegmans is at 3135 Niagara Falls Boulevard, Amherst. Tops currently is the only major supermarket chain in the county.

The Planning Board voted, 5-0, to recommend that the Town Board approve Benderson's plans to widen the entrance to the plaza to four lanes from two. It also voted to recommend final site plan approval.

The board also recommended that the company resolve drainage issues to the north and east, improve the landscaping on the land, and to resolve all other town engineering issues that may come up.

The matter is also subject to state Department of Transportation approval, since Benderson would be widening the entrance to a state road.

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