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Big Reveal: Big Plans for Elmwood and Forest

Chason Affinity Cos. has dropped controversial plans to develop a mixed-use project at Elmwood and Forest Avenue anchored by a hotel and is now proposing a mostly residential project. Chason is now proposing a five-story building with 57 condominiums and retail space at the Elmwood/Forest corner. Carmina Wood Morris is designing the project.

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The corner has seen several projects come and go over the past decade. In 2007, Savarino Companies’ plans for a 72-room Wyndham Hotel (below) met with neighborhood resistance and were ultimately done in by deed restrictions that prohibited commercial use on much of the site.

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Chason picked up the site and assembled the eleven property site from five separate owners at a cost of $2.06 million. It proposed a $25 million project that included ground floor retail, a boutique hotel with 125 rooms, enclosed parking for 160 cars, and 20 condominiums on the top three floors. Neighbors objected to that project and a later, smaller version also designed by architect Charles Gordon (both below).

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In 2014, Supreme Court Judge John A. Michalek tossed deed restrictions that were used to block redevelopment. The restrictions from 1892 limited the properties targeted for the development to residential uses.

With the hotel market awash with new rooms and the Elmwood Village residential market as hot as ever, Chason Affinity is going the condo route. The Buffalo News has the scoop:

Architect Steven Carmina said the project responds to concerns over development in Elmwood Village by setting the top two floors back from the street and incorporating quality materials, classic architectural detailing, sufficient parking, green space and environmental sustainability.

Most of the condos will have two parking spaces, with one-bedroom units getting one with an option to pay for a second. Parking will be below grade on one level and partly above-grade on another. There will also be 37 retail parking spaces for the three 2,500-square-foot storefronts.

All the units have patios, and some also have yards. The project – while large by Elmwood Village standards – is about one-third smaller than what was proposed five years ago, and nearly one-third of the complex is for parking and common space.

The brick building will appear as two distinct buildings due to design elements including a transparent glass wall, behind which will be common space and an elevator.

The commercial side that is also closest to Forest will have storefronts covered by awnings on the ground floor and a colonnade for shoppers. There will be five brownstones with cast concrete steps – though not the deep stoops usually associated with them – on Elmwood and two on Forest.

Twenty-one two level units are planned for the building’s recessed fourth and fifth floors.

Construction could start next year pending City approvals.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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