Uniland Development Co. wants to build a 12-story hotel and office building on the corner of Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street, a glass-covered potential new home for Delaware North Companies.
Uniland filed documents with the Buffalo Planning Board for a 515,00-square-foot V-shaped building on the site of the Delaware Court Building. The structure would dominate the highly visible corner property, which stretches down Chippewa to Elmwood Avenue.
The project for 250 Delaware Ave. includes a four-story, 120-room hotel occupying the second through fifth floors, and Class A office space from the sixth through 12th floors. In all, the hotel would take up 92,900 square feet, while the office space would occupy 190,894 square feet.
The first floor would consist of an 8,410-square-foot hotel lobby, a 7,420-square-foot office lobby and about 7,230 square feet of retail space for four boutique shops. There’s also 32,907 square feet of lower-level parking.
A 520-space parking ramp with charging stations for electric vehicles will be connected to the building.
This is the first time a formal plan has been presented for the site, which Uniland acquired last September for about $3 million. The current curved two-story building, which dates to 1917 and features an ornate terra-cotta facade, houses retail space with restaurants and clubs on the first floor and some offices on the second floor. That building would be torn down and replaced with the new construction.
No tenant is identified for the office space, but Delaware North has been looking for a new location and Uniland is widely known to be courting the Buffalo-based hospitality giant, which has reportedly identified the site as its leading candidate. The company is currently housed in 110,000 square feet in the south tower of KeyCenter at Fountain Plaza, but that lease expires in 2015. An announcement has been expected for some time.
Delaware North officials could not be reached to comment.
The proposal is slated to go before the Planning Board for approval Sept. 10, and the developer has invited neighbors to an informational meeting today. Workers are now doing brownfield remediation of the former gas station site on the Elmwood Avenue portion of the site.
Uniland is working with Buffalo’s Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects and Diamond Schmitt Architects of Toronto on the project design.
“This is just another step in the process as we continue to ready the site for construction,” said Uniland spokeswoman Therese Hickok. “Only when all municipal, regulatory and public/private partnership approvals are complete will the project move forward.”
She said the developer does plan “to apply for any appropriate incentives that the project qualifies for” from the state, county and city but would not be more specific. “We have had preliminary discussions with representatives from several entities and have briefed them on the project and the local, regional and statewide impact it could have upon completion,” she said.
Plans call for 28,000-square-foot floors with as few columns as possible to be attractive to major employers. The building would have “expansive glass with lake and city views,” and would incorporate a LEED-silver-certified sustainable design, according to Uniland. A solar roof is also being considered, and a large outdoor terrace is planned for the 12th floor, outside the offices.
The developer did not identify the hotel, but Hickok said it would be a national “flag” or chain, and would be full-service, with an attached restaurant and nightclub, as well as the first-floor retail. Outside, the building would feature a 7,000-square-foot garden, landscaping and cafe tables.