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Uniland plans purchase of city-owned parking lot

Less than a year after it bought a former Lifetime Health Medical Group building in downtown Buffalo, Uniland Development Co. is buying the city-owned parking lot that Lifetime had been leasing.

The Amherst-based developer has agreed to pay $2 million to purchase the 125-space parking lot at 853 Washington St. from the city's Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency.

The site is located behind and diagonally down the street from the former William E. Mosher Health Center location at 891-899 Main St., whose lot extends back to Washington.

Uniland purchased that closed 32,876-square-foot facility from Rochester-based Excellus Health Care Plan ā€” which formerly operated the network of Lifetime Health clinics ā€” in March 2019 for $4.34 million. The parking lot had been leased by Excellus and predecessors through a series of agreements dating back to 1988, but Excellus terminated the lease after the building was sold.

Uniland spokeswoman Jill Pawlik said the lot will be part of the developer's plans for the former Mosher building, which also has on-site parking as well. She said the developer is "in active discussions with a few potential tenants," but does not yet have solid leases for the building.

The Common Council will review the planned sale and schedule a public hearing on the proposed sale during its Jan. 7 meeting.

The 1.04-acre lot is located on the northeast corner of Virginia and Washington streets, on the edge of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. It extends into the northwest corner of Ellicott Street, about a block and a half north of where Uniland converted a former Frey the Wheelman structure into a medical building and is turning another former Frey warehouse into the Hansa co-working facility.

It's currently being used by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, to handle excess parking needs of its employees. Parking is already at a premium on the Medical Campus and surrounding area, as the population of the campus has burgeoned to 17,000 with the opening in recent years of the Oishei Children's Hospital, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Conventus and Roswell Park's Scott R. Bieler Clinical Sciences Center.

Waiting lists for parking spots are long, and both the nonprofit organization that runs the campus infrastructure, as well as the individual institutions, are constantly looking for additional options. Roswell Park is planning to build a new seven-story ramp with 590 spaces at the southwest corner of Carlton and Ellicott streets, on an existing surface lot at 45 Carlton. Officials hope to start work this year.


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