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Amherst officials welcome Sinatra's purchase of the Boulevard Mall

Mike Desmond/WBFO

The shape of the future for a major section of the Town of Amherst will start becoming clear today, as Supervisor Brian Kulpa talks with developer Nick Sinatra. Yesterday, a group led by Sinatra agreed to pay just over $24 million for the Boulevard Mall in an extended auction.

The town has been preparing zoning changes for the mall. A professional planner, Kulpa says this opens the way for a plan for a large piece of land.

"This is probably the first time you can look and say this is really demonstrating a true change in terms of town culture and focus on redevelopment of traditional infrastructure," Kulpa said.

A quirk of the property is that Sinatra could move to build right along Niagara Falls Boulevard now since there is open property and the right zoning for housing.

"It's much too early to say," said Sinatra Development Director Amy Nagy, noting the mall's many current tenants.

"There will be a lot of stakeholders to have conversations with," Nagy cautioned.

Kulpa is hopeful through the zoning process to "put together a plan that would make it possible for the development community to phase in a true mixed-use neighborhood, a true mixed-use place."

Eventually, development of that land could run right along a Metro Rail extension.

"We know we have demand in student housing. We have a tremendous amount of demand for senior housing in this area. We know we have demand for affordable, accessible housing," Kulpa said.

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.