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First Amherst Eyes New Downtown Development

A line at the end of a First Amherst Development Group press release hints at a renewed interest in city development:

First Amherst has ambitious plans in the works for additional downtown residential conversions to be announced in early 2015.

The company kicked off a wave of downtown loft projects when it converted the circa-1919 Elk Street food terminal into the upscale, Lofts @ Elk Terminal in 2002. In 2006, First Amherst turned a string of five crumbling 1800’s buildings in the 800-block of Main Street, into The Granite Works, a mix of 29 high-end apartments and retail space.  It had plans for additional projects downtown including a new building at Main and Pearl streets and the redevelopment of the mansion at 23 North Street.  The latter was torn down last year after it was damaged.

First Amherst has steadily grown its stable of commercial sites in Amherst and Williamsville.  Now it is the area’s 10th largest commercial development company, with nearly 2 million square feet of property in its portfolio.

The Obletz Family Trust this week transferred ownership of nine properties in its portfolio to seven new entities controlled by First Amherst President Benjamin N. Obletz.  The office, medical and retail sites, which have a combined value of $6.1 million, are core properties in the family-owned portfolio in Western New York.

The late Bernard Obletz laid the foundation for First Amherst Development Group in 1958 when he acquired one of his father’s drug stores, located at the northwest corner of Harlem Road and Main Street in Snyder. He expanded the structure and created the first multi-tenant office building in Amherst.


Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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