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Eastern Hills Mall development leaders provide first look at plans to turn space into "Town Center"

Posted: 6:27 PM, Mar 13, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-13 22:36:00Z

A collaborative effort brings several partners together to create something different.

Uniland , Gensler, and several University at Buffalo Architecture graduate students worked together to provide a first look at how they hope to transform the Eastern Hills Mall.

"One thing that I think we're envisioning here is what we might call a town center , mixed-use community," said Gensler Principal Marc Bruffett.

The new vision calls for big changes: converting 100 acres at the Eastern Hills Mall to feature out-door shopping, restaurants, entertainment and residential development.

"A development like this and looking at turning it into a lifestyle center or a town center, really brings that ownership aspect to it. So people are going to actually be living on the site now," said Architecture and Planning student Kevin Turner.

It's all part of redeveloping the traditional space to attract more than just shoppers.

"These once vibrant destinations have fallen into disuse. We think there's an extraordinary potential to revitalize this area," said Bruffett.

Turner grew up in Clarence, and has fond memories of the mall.

"I loved just going there and running around in the central atrium that's there. We always threw pennies into the fountains that were in there while my mom was off buying something I'm sure," he said.

And as someone who's playing a role in the project, he wants to make sure the fun times carry on.

"That kind of stuff we still want to maintain, to make sure that kind of fun destination place is carried through. Certainly in a different form and in a different way moving forward," he said.

The project is still in the master planning phase, which means is it's still in the research stage. Redevelopment leaders are in the process of analyzing the cost and the economic impact of the project.

We're told this phase should be complete in the Fall of this year, and the entire project should take between five to seven years.