Revival is not just for Buffalo. New plans to revitalize the downtown West Main Street corridor in Lancaster send another encouraging signal about the overall forward trajectory of the area.
Lancaster could join the ranks of peer communities in revitalizing their business cores: Hamburg, East Aurora, Kenmore and Orchard Park.
The spark of enthusiasm for growth is apparent in communities large and small. Buffalo is pursuing big-growth plans at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, on its waterfront and at the RiverBend project. Niagara Falls is stirring for the first time in decades. The undeniable spirit of possibility is in the air.
So it is in that mindset that Lancaster’s downtown West Main Street corridor is being approached – cautiously, of course, but with a healthy dose of optimism. The village has two competing proposals to transform the “short, dead-end street” that three decades ago hummed with commercial activity.
News staff reporter Karen Robinson wrote about a $30 million proposal submitted by the newly formed Lancaster-based Stampede Capital Partners. It envisions an extensive three-story mixed-use development with luxury apartments and high-end townhouses along Cayuga Creek. It also comes with a plan for a centralized business and entertainment district and an all-season pavilion, parking ramp and pond.
The village’s Community Development Corp. has a lot to consider as it also received a same-day offer from its longtime legal counsel and former property manager, Mark S. Aquino, to buy the agency’s roughly 5-acre property on West Main for $845,000.
As Robinson wrote, there are challenges to reviving the West Main Street corridor that involve form and function, as put forth by William T. Severyn, who partners with his brother, Alex, in Stampede Capital Partners.
Their proposal aims to attract downtown residents and stores. It calls for an array of apartment buildings at the corner of Aurora Street and Pleasant Avenue as well as a couple of mixed-use commercial and residential buildings at both 11 and 16 West St.
It also envisions a community square, “Stampede Square,” at the end of West Main with a picturesque cascade grand staircase, concourse area with retail space, terrace garden and a performing stage. Other aspects include an open-air heated pavilion and performance stage, community park, two-story parking ramp and 14 owner-occupied townhouses along Cayuga Creek.
Lancaster is positioned to remake its core and reap the rewards. It just has to decide which road to follow and then work to make it happen. It’s happening all around Western New York. Why not Lancaster, too?