Share this article

print logo

City OKs storage facility for former Budweys on Kenmore Ave.

The longtime supermarket building on Kenmore Avenue in Buffalo got the green light to be converted into a self-storage facility.

The city Zoning Board, which previously nixed the idea, reversed itself after revised plans were submitted this week for the project.

With more brick on the building, and more green space buffering the lot from the street, the storage facility will fit in nicely with the neighborhood, attorney Jeffrey D. Palumbo, representing building owner Joe Dash, told the zoning board Tuesday.

“Brick columns run the entire length of the Kenmore Avenue frontage,” Palumbo told the board. “We’ve added extensive buffering to the site. We believe we have blended the building into the neighborhood. It’s a building that is far better than was presented in the first instance.”

The Zoning Board agreed, and granted the variance needed so that Dash can open a self-storage facility in a building that for decades was a supermarket.

The zoning board also approved a six-foot fence for the project, running along Kenmore Avenue.

The project still needs Planning Board approval, said attorney Corey A. Auerbach, who has been working on the case with Palumbo, both with the Damon Morey law firm.

“We’re done everything in our power to redevelop the property to be the best-looking piece of real estate on all of Kenmore Avenue,” Dash said after the project won zoning board approval.

The climate-controlled self-storage facility will be in the existing building on the site, Dash said. Three acres of the existing parking lot, he said, will be reserved for a mixed-use development that will be determined sometime in the future.

The zoning board in April voted 3-0 vote to reject the self-storage center. That vote came as a bit of a surprise since, earlier in that meeting, University Heights Councilman Rasheed N.C. Wyatt had told the zoning board that the University Heights Neighborhood Collaborative was pleased with some compromises made by the property owner, and voted to support the project.

Dash originally proposed an indoor and outdoor self-storage facility, but in the face of neighborhood opposition, the outdoor storage proposal was dropped.

Nonetheless, board members at that April meeting said the retail commercial environment created by the supermarket that operated at the site for decades would not continue if the building becomes a self-storage center.

In addition, board member Warren F. Glover in April said some people in the neighborhood were uncomfortable with the “interim” aspects of the plan, referring to the three-acres of parking lot that Dash said will eventually become mixed-use development of some type.

“I live down the street, and talk to neighbors,” Glover said at the April meeting.

Dash purchased the former Budwey’s Supermarket at 416 Kenmore Ave. in November 2013. His initial plan was to close his Hertel Avenue Dash’s store and convert the Kenmore Avenue store into a Dash’s signature Market Side Cafe. However, the Hertel Avenue community opposed the idea of their neighborhood store closing, and Dash decided to keep that store open.

In July 2014, Dash permanently closed the Kenmore Avenue store, which he already had shut down in preparation for the planned remodeling. Then, in November 2014, he unveiled plans to convert the former grocery store building into a self-storage facility.

Staff News Reporter Jonathan Epstein contributed to this report.