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Wal-Mart Supercenter gets town go-ahead Brierwood Plaza will be demolished

Demolition of the derelict Brierwood Plaza in Hamburg is expected to begin within the next two months to allow for construction of a Wal-Mart supercenter, officials said Thursday.

The town Planning Board approved the project on a 7-0 vote Wednesday and Anthony Battista, director of leasing for the developer, Benderson Development Co., said demolition of the plaza could start in 30 to 60 days.

Construction typically takes nine months, meaning the store could open in late 2007.

In addition to the 205,000-square-foot Wal-Mart, Benderson has its own "very viable development plan" for the adjacent property on the 43-acre site and is in discussions with potential tenants, Battista said.

A group of area residents opposed to the project, Hamburg First, has threatened to go to court to try to stop it. A group spokeswoman said comments should come from its attorney, David Seeger. He did not return calls Thursday.

Approval of the project -- which was supported by the Town Board and did not require a zoning change -- followed a "long arduous process" that was helped by community input, Battista said.

"We're happy for residents who said they wanted a grocery store in the area," he said.

The supercenter will replace the existing Seven Corners Wal-Mart, and the company will sell or lease that building, Wal-Mart spokesman Philip Serghini said. The new store will have nearly double the number of employees, at about 400, he said.

While the supercenter will include a Tire & Lube Express, no gasoline pumps will be allowed.

Other restrictions on the special use permit include:

* Wetlands jurisdiction and mitigation, if any, will be under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers.

* No overnight parking of recreational vehicles.

* A follow-up traffic study is to be done at Wal-Mart's expense a year after the store opens and any necessary improvements will be completed by the company.

* The building must match the architecture of the nearby Brierwood Country Club building and cannot be constructed of standard cement block.

* Traffic improvements will include a left turn lane at the Rogers Road entrance.

The resolution notes that the site currently consists of the mostly vacant and deteriorating plaza and says the project "will improve the aesthetics and enhance the neighborhood without altering the essential mixed-use character of the neighborhood or being detrimental to the residents."

Also, "The project is a good example of adaptive reuse of a blighted commercial parcel."

In addition to a special use permit, the Planning Board approved a site plan and sub- dividing the property into five lots from three.

e-mail: ternst@buffnews.com

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