Benderson sells ex-Buffalo Gun Club for $10.5M

May 24, 2012 Updated May 24, 2012 at 7:30 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink

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May 24, 2012 Updated May 24, 2012 at 7:30 AM EDT

Buffalo Maple Road LLC and Buffalo Anderson Associates LLC - affiliates of Benderson Development Co. - have sold the 34-acre Maple Road property to ACC OP (Maple Road) LLC. ACC OP (Maple Road LLC) is an affiliate of American Campus Communities, an Austin, Texas-based developer that specializes in the construction of student housing.

According to documents filed in the Erie County Clerk's office, American Campus Communities paid a combined $10.5 million for the property, located in the shadow of the University at Buffalo's Amherst campus and the Amherst Northtown Center complex. Benderson paid $3.275 million for the property six years ago but invested almost as much in environmental remediation and initial plans for the proposed $44 million Amherst Town Centre project. The proposed development spurred both praise and a series of lawsuits by those opposed to it.

While no new plans have been filed with the Town of Amherst, it appears that American Campus Communities will be developing student housing on the property, sources said.

Benderson's Amherst Town Centre proposal, when it was first aired six years ago, became a local lightning rod and major political battle in the town. Many supporters praised Benderson's plan as it would have brought in a mix of upscale residential, retail and restaurants and a top-level hotel along with such amenities as a walking/exercise path and town square mini-park.

A vocal critical minority opposed the project, even taking the town's approval to court, where their objections were dismissed.

The delays, caused by the legal actions, ultimately played a major role in Benderson deciding to scrap the project and sell the property.

American Campus Communities plans for the property will be subject to municipal approval from various Amherst boards. No time table has been for when the review process will begin.

American Campus Communities has been developing student housing projects in the area since 1999. It has six developments with a total of 3534 apartments including the Villas on Rensch, which opened last fall and the 828-unit University Village on Sweet Home Road. Both cater to UB students as does its four other complexes.

Students from Daemen College, Canisius College and Buffalo State College are also tenants of its various projects.

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