Advantage Co., Ellicott spur Amherst developments

January 17, 2012 Updated Jan 17, 2012 at 9:23 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink, Buffalo Business First Reporter

January 17, 2012 Updated Jan 17, 2012 at 9:23 AM EDT

New development plans centering on the Stereo Advantage and its presence as retailing anchor in Williamsville are progressing on two fronts.

First, representatives of the Stereo Advantage confirmed it will close its longtime location at Main Street and S. Forest Road on Jan. 27 and re-open the next day in the nearby Walker Center as the Stereo Advantage Business Center. The Walker Center has been developed by the owners of Stereo Advantage and its parent, the Advantage Co.

The Stereo Advantage Business Center will carry on the Stereo Advantage's retailing presence but also include the Vantaggio Room, a state-of-the-art private conference room, run by Giancarlo's Sicilian Steakhouse and Pizzeria. The room can handle up to 28 people.

Giancarlo's opened last year as part of the revamping of the Walker Center, which will eventually house all Advantage Cos.' operations.

Current non-Advantage tenants - the Pizza Planet and Pine Pharmacy - will eventually move from the plaza.

As part of the shift, the Advantage Cos.' Lifetime Service Center will move from Union Road to an existing Wehrle Drive building already owned by the company. The 70,000-square-foot building may eventually be increased by 20,000 square feet.

Ellicott Development Co. has agreed to purchase the Stereo Advantage property at Main Street and S. Forest Road. That deal is expected to close in the next few days.

Ellicott Development is moving ahead with a $22.74 million project for the property that includes constructing a four-story, 150,000-square-foot building anchored by a 111-room hotel, 40 market rate apartments plus retail and restaurant space. The project includes 231 parking spots, 188 that will be covered.

The Amherst Planning Board will review the project on Jan. 19 and the Amherst Industrial Development Agency will consider an abatement package that will help finance the building at its Jan. 20 meeting.

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