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Big Deal: Post Office Delivers Theater District Site to Uniland

Uniland Development Company has added to a cluster of Theater District properties it owns.  The developer purchased the Ellicott Station post office property at 677-701 Washington Street today for $3.05 million.  It is adjacent to and across from other properties Uniland owns on the western edge of the Theater District.  The post office building contains 9,408 sq.ft. and sits on a 1.99 acre site.  Uniland will be constructing a new facility for the post office next door along Washington Street, east of its office building at 520 Ellicott Street and north of the existing post office.

“This was a unique opportunity to add two acres in a prime location in downtown Buffalo,” said Uniland Senior Development Manager Kellena Kane.

The post office will continue to operate while Uniland builds a more efficient and modern postal facility at 695 Washington Street. That branch is expected to open in the summer of 2019. There are no immediate plans for the 701 Washington Street parcel but a mixed-use development is envisioned.

“We are very confident about how the Ellicott-Washington corridor is being developed given its proximity to the medical campus, the Central Business District, the Metro rail and major arterials,” Kane added. “This site and our entire Ellicott-Washington campus have great potential for a vibrant mix of business, residential and retail uses.”

The General Services Administration put the post office property on the market in 2016.  Sources say a Canadian company had been the highest bidder and was planning a “highrise” residential building on the site but became concerned about obtaining height variances needed for its project.  The property is within the Mixed-Use Core (N-1C) zoning district that requires a residential building (“stacked units”) to be a minimum of three stories and a maximum of 1.25 times the width of the widest adjacent thoroughfares.  Both Washington and Ellicott are 65 feet wide, thus a building could be 81.25 feet tall, or roughly eight floors.  Uniland’s plans are unknown but the site is large enough for a significant addition to downtown and with its nearby properties, will be able to single-handedly transform what is now a sleepy corner of downtown.

Uniland’s Buffalo High Technology Centre Inc. purchased Frey the Wheelman properties at 520, 522, and 525 Ellicott Street, 41-53 E. Tupper Street, and 693 Washington Street in 2014.  505 Ellicott Street was purchased by Uniland President Carl Montante for $1 million at the same time.

520 Ellicott, a three-story, 23,000 sq.ft. office building opened last year at the southwest corner of E. Tupper and Ellicott streets.  That building is anchored by Buffalo Dialysis and Huron Consulting.

The company has floated a number of plans for the former Frey warehouse at 505 Ellicott Street.  Original plans called for converting the building into two floors of office space.  Plans were later unveiled for a four-story building with ground-floor retail or restaurant space and enclosed parking. The fourth floor offices would have access to terraces. The ultimate size and timing of the development was to be tenant-driven.

Rocco Termini’s Signature Development and Uniland Development Company and pitched 505 Ellicott Street as the site for a second Emerson Hospital School.  The $70 million proposal included a six-story office building for the surface parking lot at 525 Ellicott.  The Buffalo Board of Education selected a competing site on W. Huron Street for the school however.

Get Connected: Uniland Development Company, 716.834.5000

Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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