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Uniland Gates Circle townhomes approved by Zoning Board

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Uniland Development
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Some of the Elmwood Village's most prominent development critics backed a Gates Circle project Wednesday, resulting in a Buffalo Zoning Board of Appeals approval.

The site for the development was once home to the Park Lane restaurant, a longtime upper-crust dining place, destroyed in a fire and then rebuilt and eventually closed. The site across Gates Circle remained fallow for a number of years.

An older plan called for a high-rise tower on the site. However, that was before the old Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital was leveled to make way for a large development project.

Now, Uniland is proposing a residential project starting on Gates Circle and threading through to property along Lancaster Avenue.

"Our proposed project is a total of 12 attached townhouses, that are made up of two different sectors," explained Uniland Senior Development Manager Kellena Kane at wednesday's Zoning Board meeting. "The sector along Gates Circle is seven attached townhouses and then we have a sector along Lancaster Avenue that is five attached townhomes."

Kane would not say what the price will be for the homes, slightly larger along Gates Circle. However, others have priced them over $1 million each.

Lancaster/Melbourne Block Club President Gretchen Cercone says her club is backing the project because of careful design with provisions sought by residents and because Uniland met with Kane to explain what would be coming.

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Credit Uniland Development
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Rendering of one of the townhomes.

"We were proactively reached out to ahead of time, before even the block club meeting was scheduled to hear what people were thinking," said Cercone, "and I could go on and on about the importance of the process and building trust with people and then, guess what? People come and say, 'Support this.'"

The development was before the Zoning Board because one building was longer than allowed under the city's Green Code, a problem on other Elmwood Village plans. However, even the usually most vocal critics backed the needed variance.

"I hope that you are in a mood to support variances," said Daniel Sack.

"This is a circle that is really active, lot of people, lot of density," said developer and businessperson Prish Moran, who backed the plan because Gates Circle is such an active place.

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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