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New homes springing up at Buffalo's old Central Park Plaza

After years of studying, planning and early infrastructure construction work, the Highland Park development is under construction with more buildings to come this spring.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Developers have spent several years working through the regulatory process and digging up the old Central Park Plaza to ready it for housing. That includes putting back Chalmers Avenue, long lost to the plaza. LP Ciminelli Construction is well along on two apartment buildings on the site and scheduled to rent the first units in July.

The Buffalo Planning Board Monday approved some design changes in townhouses for sale by Burke Homes. David Burke said his part of the overall project is houses for sale.

"I'm going to be the general contractor for all the townhome portion of Highland Park," said Burke. "We're going to be selling these townhomes."

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Initially, that is six units with an eventual total of 32 planned. Ciminelli Vice President John Ciminelli said the harsh winter has created a few weeks of delay, but work on the apartment buildings is continuing.

"One building is under roof as we speak," he said, "and the other building is being framed and it's three-quarters built."

Elim Christian Fellowship is also building housing adjacent to Burke and Ciminelli, creating a three-way node of development that will eventually move across the larger site. Eventually, there might be nearly 700 housing units on the former plaza, along with an array of retail spaces to serve the new neighborhood.

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.
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