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For new units, a collegiate christening

It won't be called Kensington Village much longer.

The developer of a $100 million gated community for college students has renamed the Cheektowaga project on the Buffalo border Collegiate Crossings.

"We really wanted to find a name that was somewhat descriptive of what's going to be going on here," said Mark Chason of Chason Affinity Cos.

Chason believes that the redeveloped, 60-year-old apartment complex will attract 1,208 students from the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State, Daemen, Canisius, Erie Community, Medaille and Villa Maria colleges. They will live in brick apartments on a campuslike site, with a community center not unlike a student center.

"We thought Collegiate Crossings somehow will convey that," Chason said.

He expects work to start in early August. Crews will demolish six apartment buildings in the center of the ring road to make way for the community center. Shortly after demolition starts, renovations of apartments in the first phase will start.

New windows and heating/air-conditioning units will be installed, and bathrooms will be added to each apartment so that each bedroom has an attached bathroom. Most of the apartments will be two or four bedrooms. A small number of one-bedroom apartments also will be available.

Tenants have left or soon will leave most of the apartments scheduled for work in the first phase of construction, said Jeffrey Birtch, chief executive officer for Affinity Realty Partners. Affinity is working on the project with Ken-Vil Associates, headed by Chason.

Ken-Vil will sell the buildings to MSH-Kenmore, a nonprofit organization. Capstone Development will manage the complex when it is finished.

Birtch said the closing should be in early August. Ken-Vil Associates also is buying Kenville Road, and the shorter Betty and Marc lanes from the Town of Cheektowaga. Chason said Betty and Marc lanes were named for his sister and himself when their father and grandfather were developing the apartments. The name of Kenville Road will be changed to Affinity Lane, Birtch said.

The Town Board approved the sale of the road and a payment in lieu of taxes, providing that MSH-Kenmore is deemed to be exempt from property taxes. The town has asked the state Office of Real Property Services to issue an opinion.

Part of the mission of the non-profit MSH-Kenmore is to make the apartments more affordable, Chason said. Up to 20 percent of the students, or about 250, will be eligible for reductions of $100 a month on rent, he said.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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