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New Walgreens expected to be built on corner of Delaware-Kenmore avenues

The Walgreens store that angered many Kenmore residents when it opened in 1998 could be replaced by a new Walgreens on the corner of Delaware and Kenmore avenues.

Benderson Development has acquired vacant buildings at that corner and intends to build a new Walgreens, a village official said.

The current location of the pharmacy, farther north on Delaware and West Girard Boulevard, would close if the Village Board approves the development proposal.

Benderson representatives have informally met with Planning Board members and presented a possible design for the new building, said Kathleen Johnson, village clerk/treasurer. An official proposal should go before village officials in a couple of weeks, Johnson said.

Eric Recoon, senior director of leasing for Benderson, declined to identify the prospective tenant or to give details about the proposal.

"It's kind of preliminary at this point," he said.

"We have submitted the drawings [to the Planning Board]," Recoon said. "We are working on finalizing a deal with our tenant. Until that time, it's premature to comment."

Officials at the national chain also were tight-lipped. Tiffani Bruce, a Walgreens' spokesperson, wouldn't confirm a new location in Kenmore or discuss the future of the existing store.

"We are anticipating growth in the Buffalo area," she said. "We are weighing our options and looking for the best route to best serve our customers."

But a Planning Board member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed Walgreens is Benderson's tenant. Walgreens is eyeing the corner -- 2937 to 2945 Delaware -- because it's considered a "prime location," he said.

Board members found Benderson's design unacceptable for the corner and the aesthetic theme of the village, he added. The company is now reworking the design to include more landscaping, he added.

Some residents opposed the first Walgreens, saying it was incompatible with the village and its family-owned business landscape. They also opposed the demolition of two homes -- one on Palmer Avenue and the other on West Girard -- to make room for the store and the potential increase in traffic. Hundreds of homeowners voiced their opposition at various Village Board meetings.

Word of the new Walgreens has been floating around the village, and some residents are baffled by the relocation plan.

"Why would they build a nice building like that and then destroy it?" said Nelson Farber, a Palmer resident. "They would be wrecking two neighborhoods, by tearing down homes and buildings, to have the same store. I find it mind-boggling. There were a lot of people who didn't want the first store, but now that it's there, we've gotten used to it."

The Planning Board member described the corner of Kenmore and Delaware as a "disgusting eyesore" with a cluster of attached dilapidated brick buildings.

"It's nice having a developer wanting to do something nice with that corner and be willing to meet our specifications," he said.

e-mail: esapong@buffnews.com

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