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Premier Center opens in expanded site; Prime Wines anchors plaza on Maple Road

Prime Wines cut the ribbon on Premier Center Friday, throwing open the doors to what is expected to be a bustling strip plaza.

The newly constructed Premier Center is at 3900 Maple Road in Amherst, north of Boulevard Mall and east of Delta Sonic Car Wash.

Prime Wines, owned by Burt Notarius, fills a 52,000-square-foot liquor store and warehouse. The store has added 1,000 wines to its inventory and 250 new high-end wines to its redesigned reserve room.

The abutting 12,000-square-foot retail space houses Premier Gourmet, operated by Notarius' sons Jonathan and Mark, who bought the store from Janet Ostrow in January. It features a beer growler filling station, a cafe, a "cheese cave" cellar where cheeses are aged, as well as expanded beer and cheese selections.

The company said parking was a problem at the former location. The new site has 300 parking spaces.

The center will hold a farmer's market on Thursdays and Saturdays each week in its back parking lot with space for up to 30 vendors.

The plaza sits on the former site of the Ed Taylor Lincoln-Mercury dealership, which Notarius bought last year for $3.1 million.

Prime Wines was originally known as Premier Liquor.

The large wine retailer upset some Kenmore residents last year when it announced it would leave its longtime location at 3445 Delaware Ave. to build a new plaza nearby in Amherst -- and take more than $500,000 in tax breaks from the Amherst Industrial Development Agency to do so.

"It was a difficult decision to move from our location in Kenmore, where we had been for 30 years, but our new location allows customers and employees to grow with us," Notarius said. "We were able to create more spacious aisles and improve our complete inventory of wines and spirits, which we are known for."

Notarius sold the Kenmore location for $2.95 million to Stephen Coppola, president of Len-Co Lumber. The sale also included a two-story office building at 3411 Delaware Ave., which houses the Ken-Ton Chamber of Commerce, an accounting firm, a collection agency and two insurance companies.

Len-Co Lumber, a home improvement supply store catering to small contractors and individual consumers, will fill Prime Wines' previous 40,000-square-foot location. It's slated for a soft opening by July 1.

The former site of Premier Gourmet is still vacant, but Coppola said he is in talks with multiple potential retail tenants who already have a presence locally.

Len-Co has locations on Seneca Street and in Williamsville. The third location will be its last, Coppola said.

"This finishes our expansion," he said. "Three is all we need at this time."