TOWN OF NIAGARA – Military Road School, which has been vacant for at least 25 years, may reopen as a housing complex for the elderly.
Developer Dave Tosetto of Youngstown described his future plans for the site to Town Board members Wednesday as being similar to the Mount View Health Facility. Tosetto, who successfully reopened the Lockport site last year, said Military Road “would be exactly the same but with no nursing component so the rents would be less.”
The plans call for the construction of a two-story, 80-bed apartment building attached to the school. The school would be converted to feature a common area with cafeteria and beauty shop on the second floor and corporate offices and perhaps a private learning facility on the first.
The apartments would be home to “residents without significant medical needs,” he explained. He said all meals and transportation to medical appointments and recreational trips would be provided.
The complex would have a low impact on local traffic, he said, but would be beneficial for economic development in the area as residents would frequent surrounding stores and businesses.
The school was closed by the Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District in the 1990s because it required massive renovations, including roof replacement and changes to accommodate students with disabilities. Instead of investing in the property, the district built West Street Elementary School.
According to the town assessor’s office, the owner of the property is listed as 4185 Military Road Inc. LLC. The building and 4.1-acre parcel are assessed at $100,000. The site is zoned for an apartment building, but would need a variance for business operation.
Tosetto told the board he doesn’t own the property yet.
If he can begin a clean-up at the school over the winter and break ground in the spring, the facility could be opened in 9-10 months, he estimated. Asbestos material at the school would be abated, he said.
He added that he would seek help from the town industrial development agency.
Supervisor Lee Wallace called the project “an absolute Godsend for Military Road.”
“I’m 100 percent behind this,” he said. “That school has been vacant for more than 25 years.”
Council members who commented also gave their support.