Signs point to Delaware North moving HQ

October 21, 2013 Updated Oct 21, 2013 at 1:55 PM EDT

By James Fink, Buffalo Business First

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Signs point to Delaware North moving HQ

October 21, 2013 Updated Oct 21, 2013 at 1:55 PM EDT

The first public sign that Delaware North Cos. will officially anchor the Class A office space of a proposed $80 million downtown Buffalo development has come via the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.

The ECIDA has scheduled a pair of public hearings related to Uniland Development Co.’s proposed 515,000-square-foot, 12-story building set for the corner of Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street. The hearings will begin at 11 a.m. at the agency’s offices on Perry Street in Buffalo. Sales and mortgage taxes may be abated for the project and a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes package is also being sought.

Following the hearings, the full ECIDA board will vote on the incentive packages when they meet on Nov. 18. Both packages will also be reviewed by the agency’s policy committee when it meets in early November.

Until the public hearing notice was released, both Delaware North and Uniland were mum about the giant concession company — one of Buffalo’s largest privately-held firms — anchoring the building’s Class A office component. For the past year, Delaware North has been considering a number of options for its worldwide headquarters, with the local site search fueled by its lease in downtown’s Key Center twin tower complex expiring in the summer of 2015.

“We continue our mission of securing a new global headquarters for Delaware North Cos. in downtown Buffalo,” said the company said in a prepared statement. “We are very excited about Uniland’s proposed development at 250 Delaware Ave. It is a space we are very interested in as a potential new home for the company. As with any large project, multiple uncertainties exist, and we hope to make an announcement by the end of the year.”

According to documents filed with the ECIDA, Delaware North is slated to occupy 109,345-square-feet of the 204,000-square-feet of planned office space in the building. Delaware North’s investment in the project is $7,682,378, the IDA documents indicate.

The Uniland incentives, for its DNC 250 entity, will help finance the development of the office space, a 119-room hotel and a five-level parking garage.

The ECIDA hearings are the latest in a series of public approvals Uniland is seeking for the project.

Last week, the Buffalo Zoning Board of Appeals advanced the project following earlier approvals from the Buffalo Planning Board and Buffalo Preservation Board.

Besides the ECIDA abatements, Uniland is also working with Empire State Development Corp. on incentive package.

Pending the local and state approvals, construction could start later this winter.

Uniland acquired the site, the current Delaware Court Building, last year. The Amherst-based developer also bought a gas station at the corner of Chippewa Street and Elmwood Avenue that’s also needed for the project. Remediation of the gas station site began earlier this fall.