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Buffalo sells medical campus parking lot to Uniland

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The parking lot at Washington and Virginia streets is adjacent to a former health insurance building.

Buffalo's Common Council cleared the way Tuesday for reviving a former health insurance office building, by selling a city-owned parking lot to a developer.

The council approved the sale of a large parking lot at 853 Washington St., at Virginia St., to Uniland, which owns the former health insurer building at 899 Main St., across the street. The city's urban renewal agency will get a negotiated $2 million for the property, which is on the south edge of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Council President Darius Pridgen said he wants the site kept as a parking lot, but that is up to Uniland.

"If it did not, I'm not concerned about that. They bought the land. They're paying for the land. They know what their parking needs," he said. "If they were to build a parking lot and put a building on top of it, that's the American way. The city received a fair market value."

Uniland said it is talking with prospective tenants. The building needs some work, which would be determined by the new tenant who would have access to parking directly on the 899 Main Street site and the parking lot across Washington.

Senior Marketing Manager Jill Pawlik said there are synergies in the medical campus location and operation.

"That is there and establishing all those core services for the community has been something that has been benefiting lots of our population," she said. "So the 899 Main St. building has an on-site parking lot and then the 853 Washington is adjacent to it on the other side. Also, just at the next corner, you have the Metro Rail. There's a stop right there."

Keeping the property for parking would probably keep its users from spilling into the adjacent Fruit Belt.

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.