Uniland to unveil $80 million downtown project

September 9, 2013 Updated Sep 9, 2013 at 3:46 PM EDT

By James Fink, Buffalo Business First

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Uniland to unveil $80 million downtown project

September 9, 2013 Updated Sep 9, 2013 at 3:46 PM EDT

Uniland Development Co. will be giving Buffalo officials their first official overview of a proposed 12-story, $80 million building planned for the corner of Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street.

The Buffalo Planning Board tomorrow morning will begin its review of the 515,000-square-foot building that will be anchored by Class A office space and a 120-room hotel. It is believed that Delaware North Cos. will move its corporate headquarters from the Key Center in downtown Buffalo to the proposed structure, although both Uniland and Delaware North officials are mum about the rumored move.

The planning board review is the first of several steps before the project becomes a reality. The Buffalo Zoning Board of Appeals and Buffalo Common Council need to sign off on the project, with the zoning board getting its first look at the project later this week.

Also in the mix are pending public sector incentives from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency and Empire State Development Corp.

Delaware North has been scouting downtown locations for more than a year. The company currently leases 115,000 square feet in the Key Center complex. Delaware North’s lease at Key Center expires in two years.

If it goes with the Uniland proposal, the company would return to namesake Delaware Avenue. A formal announcement regarding Delaware North’s decision is due within the next few weeks.

For many months, real estate sources have said Delaware North has pinpointed the Uniland site as its preferred choice. It has rejected other downtown proposals, including Canalside and Franklin Street.

Speculation increased last week when it was announced that Uniland and Delaware North were partnering on a proposed redevelopment of Rainbow Center Mall in Niagara Falls. They are vying against another development proposal.

According to plans submitted in Buffalo City Hall, the Uniland building will house the hotel on its first five floors, topped by six stories of Class A office space totaling 190,894 square feet. It also includes lower level parking and an adjoining 520-car parking ramp.

Uniland acquired the site nearly 18 months ago, paying $3 million for the property.

The building has been designed by the Buffalo architectural firm of Hamilton Houston & Lownie and Toronto’s Diamond Schmitt Architects, the same firms that designed a proposed 23-story condo complex for Uniland at the site of the former Park Lane restaurant on Gates Circle.

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