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New mixed-use project coming to West Side's Potomac-Grant intersection

Buffalo News - 9/29/2022

Sep. 29—A West Side investment partnership wants to construct a new five-story mixed-use building at the corner of Potomac and Grant streets, bringing 36 affordable and handicapped-accessible apartments to the growing neighborhood.

India Asplundh and Michael Morton, whose Asplundh Properties LLC owns three properties on the two streets, are proposing to demolish the two-family duplex at 268 Potomac and the vacant and dilapidated properties at 375 and 383 Grant.

Those would be replaced with the new podium-style building, with community-focused commercial space on the first floor — such as for a medical office, a daycare, a cafe or similar businesses — and then the apartments on the upper four levels that are designed to look distinct from the ground floor. The roof would include recreational space and solar panels. The project is designed by Kaz Architecture.

About 25% of the properties fronting on Grant are vacant land or empty buildings, despite "a considerable uptick in property rehabilitation in the area over the last 10 years," he said. "There is a particular shortage of affordable and accessible housing," as well as housing in general.

The combined property would include 137.5 feet along Grant and 98 feet along Potomac. It also sits directly across the street from a three-story building that brothers Chris and Matthew Siano's HES Properties constructed a few years ago at 363 Grant, with apartments located above a store and a law office.

Asplundh is seeking a rezoning of the 0.15-acre Potomac property, which it acquired earlier this year, from neighborhood residential to neighborhood commercial. The partners also obtained a ruling from the State Historic Preservation Office that the properties are not historic in nature.

The Buffalo Planning Board on Monday backed the rezoning, which must be approved by the Common Council.

Cannabis campus

The board also approved modifications to Zephyr Partners' proposed new high-tech cannabis campus at 310 Ship Canal Parkway, in Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park.

The location and height of the two proposed buildings will not change, but they will have only one floor with a double height instead of a second floor. Zephyr is also preparing an adjacent site for a third building to the south.

Shea's addition

And the board accepted the initial environmental conclusions of "no impact" for Shea's Performing Arts Center's proposed construction of a five-story addition, with a basement, on the south side of the building. The new first-floor entrance will provide a "weather-protected passenger drop-off point" for people with disabilities, while the addition will feature a pair of high-speed elevators, with six stops.

The rest of the $26 million project expands the concessions; creates a larger and more comprehensive 4,200-square-foot patrons lounge with a full bar, hors d'oeuvres services and tables for 150 to 160 people; offers 3,400 square feet of event space with concessions, catering, and tables for another 150 to 160 people; and adds more bathrooms.

The project also will allow Shea's to remove concessions from the existing theater, and addresses "a longstanding shortage" of bathroom facilities, by increasing women's fixtures from 12 to 49 and men's fixtures from 24 to 43, with five single-use and assisted restrooms also planned. The Pearl Street entrance remains the primary access from the west.


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