Bevilacqua proposes three-story Main Street building in Amherst

Plans have emerged for what has long been considered an eyesore on a Main Street corner that borders both the Village of Williamsville and Town of Amherst into what could be a development showcase.

Bevilacqua & Associates hopes to begin work early next year on a project that will transform a largely vacant retail complex into a sleek, three-story building that will include 20 market-rate apartments and first floor retail or commercial space. Located at the corner of Main and Hirschfield streets, the project is directly across from Williamsville South High School.

It carries a $9.15 million development price tag, and will be the subject of a request by Bevilacqua to receive tax breaks from the Amherst Industrial Development Agency. The IDA will consider the project at its Nov. 20 meeting.

AIDA approval is the last municipal sign-off the developer needs before construction can begin.

Jonathan Bevilacqua, CEO of the Amherst-based development company, said the 56,000-square-foot building will be similar to the motif that dominates a large stretch of Main Street through the heart of Williamsville.

“It is designed to blend into the village,” Bevilacqua said. “We consider this a long-term investment in Williamsville and Amherst.”

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 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.

David Mingoia, Amherst IDA deputy director, said the project qualifies for tax breaks because it sits in a town- and village-designated “neighborhood enhancement” zone.

Mingoia said the incentives — sales, mortgage and property tax breaks — are only for the bricks-and-mortar portion of the project. The retail portion does not qualify for tax breaks.

“This is the face of redevelopment,” Mingoia said. “It is turning an under-utilized, largely vacant property and making it an asset to the community. This is exactly what redevelopment is about.” The site sees more than 44,000 vehicles pass by on a daily basis and its location across from the high school adds to its visibility.

Bevilacqua 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, the AIDA directors are also expected to consider a request for incentives from Nidus Development.

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

Nidus, which 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.

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