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Five proposals submitted for new Emerson School of Hospitality

Developers submitted five proposals for a second Emerson School of Hospitality.

While Buffalo school officials did not disclose the locations or names of the developers, four of the five have made their proposals public.

Proposed sites include:

505 Ellicott St.: Uniland Development Co. and Rocco Termini's Signature Development Buffalo have teamed up to propose a four-story school building at the north end of the block bordered by Ellicott, Oak and Tupper streets.

The site includes both a Uniland-owned property at 505 and 525 Ellicott, where a warehouse now stands, as well as adjacent land Termini owns at 400 N. Oak St. The school would be part of a larger $70 million project that would add a new office building and parking ramp near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

75 West Huron St.: McGuire Development Co. and Buffalo Development Corp., headed by businessman Mark D. Croce, also joined forces to propose converting the historic Hertz building into a second school of hospitality.

The site would create a "campus-like" atmosphere by being just a short distance from the current Emerson at 70 West Chippewa St. in what the developers referred to as the "Hospitality Corridor." Besides classrooms, kitchens, a bakery and a restaurant, the new school would include a new gymnasium for both Emerson schools to share.

875 Seneca St.: Howard and Leslie Zemsky's Larkin Development Group – which owns the building on Chippewa where Emerson is a tenant – has proposed a custom-built, 75,000-square-foot school on a shovel-ready site at Seneca, Exchange and Smith streets.

The initial concept for an Emerson II started with Larkinville, which is an attractive area for the school district because of the neighborhood's growth and potential for walk-in traffic for another restaurant. There's also no high school between downtown and South Park High School.

817 Washington St.: Krog Corp. resubmitted its proposal to build a second Emerson in the former Trico building on the edge of the medical campus.

The school district originally designated Trico as its preferred location for Emerson, but the Board of Education walked away late last year after delays caused school officials to lose confidence that the building would be ready by Sept. 2018.

“We are taking the high road in responding again to an RFP we won the first time for Emerson II,” Krog President Paul R. Neureuter said in reference to its latest request for proposal.

“The two RFPs are almost identical. Nonetheless, and alone among the bidders, we are ready to start Emerson II now, certain we can have the school ready faster and in a better location than any other option," he said.

Neureuter also said the company will move ahead with the Trico redevelopment with or without Emerson. Without Emerson, the Trico project would have increased commercial space, a larger 117-room extended-stay hotel and 185 apartments – more than double the initial plan.

Barbara Seals Nevergold, the School Board's president, said the board has not yet set a timetable for reviewing the Emerson proposals and making a selection.

"It's a critical decision and we're essentially back at the drawing board," she said.

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