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Property owner wants to turn former church into corner store, Halal market

A former church at the corner of Sycamore and Sobieski streets in Buffalo's Fillmore District will become a Halal market with an upstairs apartment, if the Buffalo Common Council grants a special-use permit.

Junahid Ahmed wants to convert the vacant 2,015-square-foot building he bought at 1061 Sycamore into a mixed-use building, using the first floor to house his Sycamore Halal Meat and Fish store, which would relocate from rented space across the street.

The 0.07-acre property, which is zoned as residential, was a saloon and grocery store a century ago, then was converted into a funeral parlor before it became home to Mount Zion A.M.E. Church. It was never a home, however.

Plans by architect Anthony James also call for adding a second floor over the rear wing to create an apartment that would also incorporate the unfinished attic above the front portion of the building for "a couple of the bedrooms," James said.

The site is across the street from another store and across a side street from a mosque and a school. The architect said that about 15 people had attended a public meeting on July 5, with no objections expressed to the plan.

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