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Building Update: Highland Park Village

Building Update is a regular feature highlighting progress on development projects throughout the region.

Project name: Highland Park Village

Address: Central Park Avenue and Holden Street, Buffalo

Developer: LPCiminelli

Cost: $70 million

Description: Demolition and clearing of former Central Park Plaza to create new residential community on 27.1 acres

Completion date: 2022

Lowdown: LPCiminelli’s planned new residential community on the site of the former Central Park Plaza is moving into the early stages of development, as construction crews work on extending Chalmers Avenue into the site and bringing more utility connections into the area.

The Buffalo construction company is leading the redevelopment of the 27.1-acre former retail strip center property on the north side of Central Park Avenue. Conditions at the largely vacant plaza had deteriorated for years, with some parts of the structure even falling apart, creating unsafe conditions and a haven for vandals and criminal activity. So under intense pressure from the city and the state, the previous owner finally sold it, enabling Louis Ciminelli and his partners to step in with a new proposal.

Plans call for a total of 663 residential units – and possibly as many as 800 – with a mix of 316 apartments in taller multifamily buildings, 272 walk-up flats, 135 two-bedroom townhomes and 44

three-bedroom townhomes. The units will likely be priced at about 80 percent of market rates, with the rest subsidized. The project will also include 10,000 square feet of first-floor retail space, such as for a day-care center, grocery store or drugstore.

The creation of the new neighborhood, dubbed Highland Park Village, requires the extension of Chalmers, Wade Avenue and Hill Street to create the old street grid that preceded the plaza. Then construction will proceed in three phases of 229 units, 306 units and 128 units, respectively, before finishing up by 2022.

Crews recently closed off the intersection of Chalmers and Holden to complete the public improvements and utility connections there before building the road, said LPCiminelli spokesman Kevin Schuler. Most of the work will happen in the third quarter, “with a few finishing touches to come later,” he said. Additional utility work will follow for other parts of the development.

– Jonathan D. Epstein