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Cheektowaga looks to revenue in Kensington Village conversion

Kensington Village Apartments pay more than a half-million dollars in taxes a year, and Cheektowaga is hoping that such revenue will continue when the apartments are converted into student housing.

The student housing is to be run by a nonprofit corporation, and the company has offered to make payments in lieu of taxes. Last month's approval of the new community building in the project was contingent on the developer meeting with the Town Board to discuss the PILOT.

The two parcels making up about 45 acres off Eggert Road generated $362,336 in town and county taxes and $295,686 in school taxes this year, according to the tax receiver's office.

Chason Affinity wants to spend up to $96 million to convert the apartments into housing for students in area colleges. The plan is to make the complex into a community with limited access. The infrastructure -- roads, sewer and water lines -- would be owned by the developer.

Cheektowaga would sell Kenville Road and sections of Betty and Marc lanes to the developer under the proposal to convert the complex into a gated community. Residents will get a chance to comment on the sale during a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. May 7 in Town Hall.

Kensington Village Apartments was developed around Kenville, off Eggert, in the 1940s and '50s.

The town would sell Kenville, a portion of Betty Lane between Kenville and Southgate Road and a portion of Marc between Kenville and the southerly boundary line extension of Kensington Village Apartments.

If the necessary approvals are gained, Chason Affinity hopes to start construction of the first phase this summer. Renovations of 70 buildings for 529 student beds would take about a year. The second phase, involving 82 buildings with 652 beds, would begin next summer.

Council Member Thomas M. Johnson Jr. said the town is pleased with the proposal. Selling the road to the developer would be returning things to the way they used to be, he said.

"Kenville Road was part of the Kensington apartment project and was assumed by the Town of Cheektowaga," he said. "We feel the town will be unburdening itself."

A spokeswoman for the developer said that while University Centre was a preliminary name for the project, it will be called by a different name, which has yet to be determined.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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