Hotel, Apartments Adjacent to UB Campus Next up for Bevilacqua

James Fink
Buffalo Business First Reporter – Buffalo Business First

Bevilacqua Development L.P. is ready to get started on a mixed-use project on Sweet Home Road that could bring upscale apartments and a hotel to vacant property neighboring the University at Buffalo campus.

The company, through its 1280 Sweet Home LLC affiliate, purchased nearly four acres from the Center for Inquiry as the first step in its proposed development. It paid $500,000, according to documents filed in the Erie County Clerk’s office.

Vice President Jonathan Bevilacqua said he plans to file a request next month with the Amherst Planning Board to allow the property to be rezoned from research and development to general business. The board is expected to consider the request in January.

Bevilacqua hopes to start work on the project next summer and have it completed by 2013. The Buffalo architecture and engineering firm of Carmina Wood & Morris P.C. has been retained, officials said.

If all phases are completed, development costs could approach $20 million, making it the developer’s most expensive project to date.

Preliminary development plans call for a pair of four-story buildings and a 90-room hotel. One of the buildings is slated to be 44,000 square feet and will feature first-floor retail, as well as 24 apartments on the upper three floors.

The second building, at 30,000 square feet, would have 18 apartments and retail on the first floor, as well. The apartments in both buildings will average 1,200 square feet.

The retailers and restaurants would be smaller in nature, likely occupying between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet. The apartments will have hardwood floors, marble and granite countertops and a number of amenities.

Bevilacqua said he is negotiating with a national chain to bring a 90-room hotel to the property.

The entire complex is being designed in a town square motif, similar to those seen in South Bend, Ind., near the University of Notre Dame, and in Reston, Va.

The buildings will feature an early American design, along with brick-like street pavers, landscaping and benches.

“This works because we are a perimeter project to UB,” Bevilacqua said. “This is being designed as an attractive place to live, work and shop.”

The Sweet Home project comes after Bevilacqua Development earlier this year welcomed the Commons on North French, a mixed-use complex, to its portfolio of suburban real estate holdings. The Commons on North French, located at North French and Transit roads, features a mix of small, first-floor retail tenants and a dozen upscale apartments. The apartments are all leased, most with two- and three-year contracts, and 18,000 square feet of retail space has also been leased.

Bevilacqua said approximately 6,000 square feet of retail space is still available.

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