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Benderson seeks city approval for Elmwood-Hertel fitness center

A new fitness center is being planned on a 9.9-acre tract of land in the Elmwood-Hertel neighborhood.

Benderson Development Co. is seeking city approval to build a two-story, 45,000-square-foot facility on land off Elmwood Avenue, behind a Citizens Bank. The developer wants to tear down an old industrial building and erect the complex on land near Botsford Place, just north of Hertel.

Benderson officials did not return calls to comment, and the Common Council member who represents the neighborhood said the developer must still provide some key details. Benderson has yet to disclose the tenant that will occupy the complex, North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. said.

According to documents filed with the city Planning Board, the project will have "significant landscaping" that will include one acre of green space, plus fences in some areas.

The immediate vicinity has only about a half-dozen homes, located on Hertel just east of Elmwood, Golombek said.

Golombek said he encouraged Benderson to reach out to residents in the community and detail plans.

"I haven't seen everything yet, but I'm pleased [the developer] came to see me," Golombek said.

He added that he was encouraged to hear that the project would incorporate extensive green space and a promise that a planned parking lot will include racks to accommodate bicyclists.

Benderson is one of the nation's largest retail development companies. Golombek noted that the landlord has a strong track record with North Buffalo sites. Two years ago, Kohl's Corp. entered the city with the opening of an 88,000-square-foot department store in Delaware Commons, a Benderson-owned site on the 2200-block of Delaware Avenue.

In the late 1990s, Benderson attracted Target Stores and Office Max to Delaware Consumer Square and Regal Cinemas and Office Depot to the nearby Elmwood Regal Center, two developments it owned at the time.

The developer has yet to divulge what amenities the fitness center would offer or how much building the new facility will cost. More details likely will be released Tuesday, when Benderson asks the Planning Board to approve a design and site blueprint for the project.

e-mail: bmeyer@buffnews.com

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