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Zoning board rejects new downtown Burger King, approves apartment project

The Buffalo Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday rejected a variance for a new downtown Burger King restaurant, but approved a new life for an old East Side bank building.

The Rev. Reginald Kerr of Temple of Christ Church at 1230 Genesee St. wants to convert the former Liberty Bank branch building at 892 Genesee into long-term apartments.

The two-story, masonry structure features an array of art deco ornamentation, brick patterns and carved limestone designs of a bison, an eagle and what appears to be a Roman centurion’s head. Designed by architects George Dietel and John Wade, the 7,000-square-foot building was erected in 1938, at the northeast corner of Herman Street, and has been owned by the church since 2009.

The project was approved for a use variance.

However, Syracuse-based Carrols Restaurant Group, the nation’s largest franchisee for Miami-based Burger King and one of the largest restaurant operators in the country, was turned down on its own application for a density variance.

The company wants to demolish its existing one-story restaurant at 1358 Main St. and rebuild it as a two-story eatery in almost the same spot, with 44 parking spaces. The new 2,740-square-foot restaurant, which would replace the older 2,975-square-foot building, would be on the same 0.8-acre lot, sandwiched between West Utica Street and Monro Muffler & Brake. It would be situated slightly closer to Main Street, although the entrance and drive-thru would not change.

The board rejected the request, calling it “detrimental to the character of the neighborhood,” and citing other available alternatives for the company.


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