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Planning Board OKs Lancaster Square project at Gates Circle

A six-story, brick-and-glass apartment building with 60 residential units and three first-floor retail spaces was approved Monday by the Planning Board.

The plan by TM Montante Development and Morgan Communities of Rochester is part of the reuse of the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital.

The two developers have teamed up to create what they're calling Lancaster Square, with the building at the northeast corner of Delaware and Lancaster avenues. It will feature a combination of modern homes, neighborhood retail and commercial office space.

"We're thrilled to get the approval today from the Planning Board," said Christian Campos, president of TM Montante. "It's our goal to start construction this summer,  and be completed in the summer of 2018."

The $13 million project will include 45 single and studio apartments, with 15 two-bedroom units. Rents will range from $900 to $2,000. An existing 1970s parking ramp will need to be rehabilitated before it's usable. Site preparation, including remediation, demolition and installation of infrastructure, totaled $14 million.

This marks the third project on the site. Canterbury Woods is also constructing a six-story urban facility at 3 Gates Circle with 53 independent-living and five-assisted-living units. People Inc. is planning to build a 37-unit senior housing unit at 637 Linwood Ave.

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The Planning Board also recommended to the Common Council's Legislative Committee that a large East Side housing project planned for the former Buffalo Forge Factory to be redesignated under the Green Code to accommodate the planned 159 mixed-income apartments, 25 town homes for sale, five single-family homes and retail space.

The housing would front 490 Broadway, as well as along Mortimer and Sycamore streets.

The site is part of the Brownfield Cleanup Program, which will make it eligible for brownfield tax credits for redevelopment.

Kevin Beckman, who lives in Sycamore Village, enthusiastically endorsed the project.

"Just to impress upon the committee how impressed I was, I actually left work early to do something I had never done before, because I am really hopeful that this will take fruit and help grow our community," Beckman said. "As a lifelong resident of Buffalo, I'm very, very happy."

Remediation, which is expected to take five months and cost $3 million, including some pouring of foundations, could start in December, developer Stuart Alexander said.

  • The Planning Board also considered a 48,000-square-foot office building for Compeer East at 425 Michigan Ave. and Eagle Street. The board steered the architect to meet with a neighborhood block club and nearby church, and suggested returning on June 5 for further consideration.
  • Ellicott Development also got the green light to renovate a 40,000 square-foot building at 1941 Elmwood Ave., at the former Frontier Lumber site, for retail and warehouse space.
  • A 7,000-square-foot weld shop and repair garage was approved at 590 Elk St.
  • A proposed auto repair shop at 822 Walden Ave., in a garage that had been used for storage behind a Dairy Queen, was not recommended by the Planning Board to the Common Council, which would have to approve a special permit for the building to be used.

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