The Erie County Department of Social Services is moving 400 workers from downtown to the AppleTree Business Park in Cheektowaga. The County’s Family Wellness Division will be vacating the Hens & Kelly’s department store building at 478 Main Street to 80,000 sq.ft. in the Union Road mall turned office complex.
Erie County has leased the 478 Main Street building from Ellicott Development for 27 years. It has been on a month-to-month lease as the County searched for new space due to the “leaks, decaying conditions and inadequate maintenance” according to The Buffalo News.
A five year lease for the AppleTree space was recently approved by the County. Base rent cost is $23.75 per square foot for the first and second years, $24.23 per square foot for the third year, $24.71 for the fourth year and $25.20 per square foot for the fifth year. It totals $1.9 million per year compared to the $1.2 million rent at 478 Main Street.
The Family Wellness Division handles child protection and support, foster care and adoption services.
The Home Energy Assistance Program with 90 employees will remain at 478 Main Street. Ellicott Development has not announced plans for the vacated space. While there is a need for Class B space, the residential market shows no signs of slowing down, particularly for a well-placed building in the heart of downtown.