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Uniland buys Washington Street post office

Uniland Development Co. has acquired the Ellicott Station post office on Washington Street in downtown Buffalo, rounding out a campus that already includes three large adjacent properties on nearby Ellicott Street.

The Amherst-based developer bought the block-wide property at 701 Washington from the federal government, which had put it up for sale through CBRE Buffalo in March 2016 after briefly reviewing its options and concluding that postal services should move to a smaller location. The deal closed Wednesday, for $3.05 million.

The two-acre site — which stretches back to Ellicott — is located on the northern end of the central business district, just south of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. It includes the 9,870-square-foot building, as well as a front drive and parking area and another parking zone in the rear.

“This was a unique opportunity to add two acres in a prime location in downtown Buffalo,” said Uniland Senior Development Manager Kellena Kane.

Uniland officials expect to redevelop the new site into a mixed-use project, but they don't have any immediate or specific plans.

“We are very confident about how the Ellicott-Washington corridor is being developed given its proximity to the medical campus, the central business district, the Metro Rail and major arterials,” Kane said. “This site and our entire Ellicott-Washington campus have great potential for a vibrant mix of business, residential and retail uses.”

The property sits adjacent to Uniland's new three-story brick-and-glass office building at 520 Ellicott, which cost $5 million to build. The 23,000-square-foot building includes a DaVita Healthcare kidney dialysis center and offices for Huron Consulting Group, as well as two other tenants. Only a third-floor suite, with 1,832 square feet, remains vacant.

It's also across the street from Uniland's properties at 525 and 505 Ellicott, which are in "a pre-development phase for specific uses but nothing we can share with the public yet," said spokeswoman Jill Pawlik. Uniland had previously proposed a four-story, 79,346-square-foot brick-and-glass office building at 505 Ellicott, with floor-to-ceiling windows and covered, secure parking.

All three properties had been part of the Frey the Wheelman complex, which Uniland purchased in July 2014 for $1.3 million.

Uniland said the post office will continue to operate in its facility while the developer constructs a "more efficient and modern" branch next door at 695 Washington. The new facility, which is slated to open in summer 2019, will have only 2,500 square feet, but will still have onsite parking.

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