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Giambra’s West Side townhomes and church conversion approved

The Buffalo Planning Board approved a dozen townhouse units on the West Side to be constructed by former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra’s Executive Properties firm at its Monday meeting. The three separate projects include a duplex and a single-family home at 401 Prospect Ave., a “threeplex” at 389 Prospect Ave., and three duplexes at 424 Fargo Ave. Each home would feature hardy board siding, a wood porch, a gable roof and architectural roof shingles, and includes one off-street parking space.

All would be market-rate “for-purchase” homes, with prices starting at $191,000, totaling $1.2 million in investment by Giambra.

The board also:

• Approved a proposal by WestMont Living, a La Jolla, Calif.-based senior living company, to demolish the 60-year-old former Nazareth Home at 279-291 North St. and construct a new assisted-living and memory-care facility with 123 suites and 13 beds for seniors in need of various levels of care short of a full medical facility.

• Approved a $6 million plan by an arts group led by urban planner Rachel Heckl to convert the historic former Richmond Avenue Methodist-Episcopal Church at 467 Richmond Ave. and 525 West Ferry St. into the Rosanna Elizabeth Visual & Performing Arts Center. Named for Heckl’s mother, the project would create a three-story facility at Ferry Circle focused on practice and performance spaces for local dance troupes, with a main theater in the former church sanctuary, as well as a separate dance theater, dancers lounge, conference space, ticket office, music practice rooms and storage space. Heckl’s group bought the church from Alleyway Theatre in early 2014 for $170,000.