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Tim Hortons to occupy building across from SolarCity plant

Another Tim Horton’s Cafe & Bake Shop franchise and an urgent-care clinic will be the first tenants of a new two-story mixed-use building to be built across from the SolarCity manufacturing plant now under construction in South Buffalo.

The John W. Danforth Company wants to put up a new 18,000-square-foot retail and office building at 1176 South Park Avenue, in front of a larger 83,000-square-foot warehouse and industrial building that is also being planned by the mechanical contractor. The $2.5 million smaller project, whose basic details were unveiled two weeks ago without specific tenants, was reviewed by the Buffalo Planning Board on Monday but tabled until May 31 or June 13 because of pending environmental reviews and a restricted-use permit from the Common Council. The larger $8 million building in the rear was already approved in December.

The new brown brick-and-metal-panel building will have three retail tenants on the first floor, and office space upstairs. A local Tim Horton’s franchisee with about a dozen other outlets locally will be taking up about 2,300 square feet of space on the first floor, with a drive-thru and an outdoor sit-down area with tables. Additionally, an urgent-care operator from another part of the state will take up 3,000 square feet, said Paul T. Boser, a commercial real estate agent with Pyramid Brokerage Company, who is representing Danforth in leasing the space. The clinic operator, which is seeking to expand into Western New York, is hoping to get a contract from SolarCity for occupational health services, but Boser would not identify the firm because the lease is not yet finalized.

Boser said officials are seeking a cafe or similar lunch-and-dinner restaurant to fill the remaining space, complementing Tim Horton’s and meeting the demand for food from both SolarCity and the surrounding area.

Danforth, which is working with developer JTVaeth LLC, is hoping to capitalize on the excitement and opportunities posed by the solar-panel manufacturing facility, which will be the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere when it is completed. The state-owned facility, which is supposed to employ about 1,500 workers directly, is expected to generate more than 1,500 additional spinoff jobs in the area for suppliers, vendors, and other businesses that are seeking contracts with the solar power company.

So Danforth bought the 26-acre property along the Buffalo River, across the street from SolarCity, and quickly announced its initial redevelopment plans to clean up the first 12 acrse of the larger site and erect the first building on about eight acres of that. It intends to occupy more than half of that facility, allowing it to do business with SolarCity and better serve its Southtowns clients, while the rest of the space is available for lease to others. The smaller building, which will be finished by December, will take up about another 1.5 acres, leaving two more acres available, before Danforth turns to the rest of the land.