Amherst IDA approves tax breaks for Bevilacqua project

Buffalo Business First
By James Fink | Reporter

Construction is expected to start this winter on a building aimed at replacing a Main Street eyesore that straddles both the Village of Williamsville and Town of Amherst.

One of the final hurdles was crossed Friday morning when the Amherst Industrial Development Agency’s directors approved a series of tax breaks to 5933 Main Street LLC, an affiliate of Bevilacqua & Associates, that will help finance the $9.15 million project.

Bevilacqua & Associatesis proposing a three-story building that will include 20 market-rate apartments and first floor retail or commercial space.

Bevilacqua is proposing to develop a three-story, 56,000-square-foot building that will be anchored by 20 market-rate apartments and some first floor commercial or retail space. Located at Main and Hirschfield Streets, it is directly across from Williamsville South High School and is projected to replace a series of dilapidated buildings.

“This could be a cornerstone for the village for years to come,” said Williamsville Mayor Brian Kulpa.

Bevilacqua officials spent more than one year working on development plans for the property. Since the late 1970s, a number of development proposals were floated for the property, though ever left the initial planning stage.

“This isn’t a project that just came about,” said Ed Stachura, an Amherst IDA director.

Even with the sales, mortgage and property tax breaks, the complex will produce considerably more new tax dollars for the Town of Amherst, Williamsville School District and Erie County.

Under the terms of the 10-year, payment-in-lieu-of-taxes package approved by the AIDA, the project will generate $1.4 million in new tax dollars during the decade-long PILOT period, compared to the $243,712 it would generate if it remained in its present condition.

The 16,000-square-foot first floor will have a mix of retail and office tenants. No leases have been signed, although talks are underway with some prospective tenants.

The upper two floors will house the 20 market-rate apartments including one dozen two-bedroom units. The two-bedroom units will range in size from 1,450-square-feet to 2,100-square-feet while the eight one-bedroom apartments will range in size from 1,280-square-feet to 1,890-square-feet.

James Allen, Amherst IDA executive director, said the project is a poster child for a concerted town-wide effort to redevelop older, under-utilized properties. The IDA is working with both Amherst and Williamsville officials are targeting specific redevelopment areas and buildings.

“We’re here to assist in redevelopment efforts,” Allen said.

The site sees more than 44,000 vehicles pass by on a daily basis.

Jonathan Bevilacqua, CEO of the Amherst-based development company, said he hopes to begin construction on the project in early 2016 and it should be ready by early 2017, at the latest.

The project is one of several Bevilacqua has in its pipeline. The company is also considering a pair of developments in the East Amherst/Clarence area.

Besides the Bevilacqua project incentives, the IDA directors:
• Approved tax breaks for Nidus Development.

Nidus wants to purchase and renovation a multi-tenant office building at 2150 Wehrle Dr. The project carries a $2.7 million development price tag.

Nidus, who specializes in out-of-town development projects, wants to move its headquarters from Clarence to Amherst. The firm will occupy approximately 7,300-square-feet of the 18,125-square-foot building. The buildings other two tenants, Visiting Nurses Association and Premier Mortgage Co. will remain.

• Delayed making its annual $25,000 allocation to be a funding member for the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise until later in its 2017 fiscal year. The City of Buffalo rejoined BNE’s marketing efforts last week.

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