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Project hopes to resurrect historic church

rendering from Ellicott Development

The historic and decaying Our Lady of Lourdes Church is getting a new neighbor, six stories of retail and office space geared to the nearby Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The building, proposed by Ellicott Development, will go into what's now a parking lot and was once the parish's school and rectory site. The matter was in front of the Planning Board earlier this week. The Zoning Board of Appeals was scheduled to review the proposal on Wednesday.

The historic parish church closed in 1993 and the building was sold to a Protestant congregation which eventually sold to Ellicott. 

"We've owned (the church) for several years and primarily we've been working on it up this point for structural stability on the interior," said Ellicott Development Director Tom Fox. 

"Unfortunately, a former owner left the building in great disrepair. Stripped it down to the bones on the inside. We've done a lot of work to stabilize that interior at this point but nothing more."

Fox told the city Planning Board it looks as if several floors will be inserted into the church structure.

"We expect, probably in the next two to three months, to come to this board with thorough plans for that."

The site is directly across Best Street from the Metro Rail Summer-Best Station and an easy walk from the Medical Campus.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.