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Northtown Automotive may buy Amherst land, as synagogue weighs move

Northtown Automotive Companies is considering buying about nine acres in Amherst for future growth, as members of a synagogue decide whether to move away from that site.

Northtown has filed a rezoning application with the town for the land, which is on Getzville Road off Sheridan Drive, next to the Youngmann Expressway.

The auto dealer group would acquire the property from Temple Beth Tzedek, whose synagogue is there. The congregants are considering merging with another synagogue and moving.

Northtown already has a strong presence near the site, The dealer group has a host of dealerships in a stretch of Sheridan Drive between Harlem Road and Millersport Highway, and more operations just around the corner on Millersport.

The Getzville Road location would be a logical geographical fit with those other properties, and the site is visible to motorists passing by on the Youngmann.

Lawrence Schreiber, a co-owner of Northtown, said the dealer group is exploring a purchase of the land. But whether that deal goes through depends on two main factors: whether the town rezones the land, and whether Temple Beth Tzedek’s congregants decide to merge and relocate.

“It’s kind of in the hands of congregants of a temple, and it’s in the hands of the Town of Amherst and the residents,” Schreiber said.

Temple Beth Tzedek congregants are set to vote Thursday on whether to merge with B’nai Shalom, which is on North Forest Road, south of West Klein Road, said Harvey Sanders, a past president of the synagogue. The merged synagogue would be based at that location. B’nai Shalom’s congregants are expected to vote on the proposal later this month, he said.

Sanders said if the land purchase and the relocation go through, the synagogue would explore using the funds from the sale to build a new, larger facility at the North Forest Road site.

Temple Beth Tzedek, which has about 500 families, has been looking at selling its property and relocating. A project report from May 2012 posted on the synagogue’s website said the potential purchaser – which was not named –in late 2011 signed a non-binding letter of intent offering $7 million.


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