Rental Project Planned Near LaSalle Light Rail Station

A local developer is planning a rental complex in the University District near the LaSalle light rail station.  Legacy Development was recently named designated developer for a 4.7-acre City parcel at the corner of Cordova and LaSalle avenues.  Combined with six acres owned by Legacy, the $40 million project could have up to 250 units and may include a mix of apartments and townhouses (concept plan shown below and entry image).
The project is likely to be attractive to college students but is not expected to be student-only housing.  The site is within walking distance of the University at Buffalo South Campus and within transit distance of the Medical Campus and downtown.  

lasalle.jpg
Concept_Plan.jpg
The sites targeted by Legacy are adjacent to Main-LaSalle Place’s William Price Parkway, a cul-de-sac of single-family homes built by Marrano a decade ago.  The area surrounding McCarthy was envisioned as a mix-used community according to an unrealized master plan prepared by the City and DeLeuw Cather in the mid-1990s (below).  A mixed-use infill community consisting of new townhouses, mixed-use along Main Street, a retail plaza, expanded park space and new schools was proposed at the time. 
main lasalle 001.jpg
Mid-90′s Master Plan for Main LaSalle Infill Neighborhood
 
Legacy Development’s roots date back to 1998 when Frank Chinnici left a career in commercial banking to enter the real estate development business.  Chinnici has been the owner of Legacy Development since 2003.  Legacy owned the Continental Night Club located at 212 Franklin Street until the club closed in August 2005 and was later demolished.
Legacy and Crystal Construction developed Autumn Creek, a 228 unit luxury apartment community located on N. French Road in East Amherst.  Legacy is currently developing The Polo Grounds patio home community in East Aurora and has residential and commercial projects planned in Orchard Park, Amherst and elsewhere.
“This is an urban development, it’s a much different style of development and so it will not look like Autumn Creek, it will look like an urban-based multi-family residential project.” 
Work on Legacy’s project could start later this year.
Get Connected: Legacy Development, 716.689.3300

About the author  ⁄ WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

37 comments
https://me.yahoo.com/a/VmaCUSoDioq8gvE1N88F7d7kSvx
https://me.yahoo.com/a/VmaCUSoDioq8gvE1N88F7d7kSvx

I'd think about renting/buying if it's nice enough, affordable and beats back the nastiness of this neighborhood a bit. I work at UB South campus and I think this area is prime for development of almost any kind.

whatever
whatever

Daniel - as army pointed out, that 4th image you mention is clearly captioned as a plan proposed in the mid 1990s:

"Mid-90's Master Plan for Main LaSalle Infill Neighborhood"

Time flies, but 1995 was over 17 years ago, and with different people doing the proposing.

None of the other 3 images mention a retail plaza being in the 2013 plan, nor does the BR article above, nor does the WGRZ report linked by BR, nor does the BN article to which I linked. Those all say residential.

Okay - so that looks perhaps like an honest mistake of not noticing the caption under that image. We can all make mistakes like that. Admitting it would be nice, but okay -shrug-

However, the attack you made of racism is far more serious.

If you have no facts that the proposed project will racially discriminate against tenants of color, shouldn't you retract your charge of "racist" &/or apologize to the people involved?

Or if you do have any facts that such racism will happen, shouldn't you provide those here along with your charge?

armyof100clowns
armyof100clowns

Mr. Sack - the image you are referring to is a plan from nearly 20 years ago, not the proposed project that is the subject of this article.

Daniel Sack
Daniel Sack

huh whatever "what's your basis for implying this will include a retail plaza?"

Maybe the label "Retail Plaza" northeast of Bethune Hall, see fourth drawing - click on it to enlarge.

If you can't figure that out why would you be able to figure out the other stuff?

JSmith
JSmith

The urban form doesn't have to mean concrete and tall apartment buildings, except perhaps in downtown proper. Terrace houses like the ones that make up just about all of suburban Britain would be very appropriate to this region of the city, and the British famously love their gardens.

The difference is between having actual streets with buildings on them (with driveways or with on-street parking) and having apartment block buildings in the middle of a large rambling parking lot with its own internal circulating "roads".

No_Illusions
No_Illusions

From the looks of it what they mean by "urban" is just the building style.

Personally excess green space is no a bad thing; especially if you want a little more privacy than the nearby public park.

However, thus far it does not look like they are using the green space to its full potential. This could be a much more urban neighborhood if they just rearranged some of the houses. Though I could be wrong. There is nothing wrong in giving residents of these building a small front garden and a little more private space on a communal back lawn.

I also wonder what is the demand for housing in this area. All they need to do is me cheaper than Sweet Home near UB North and they will easily snag the college crowd.

At the very least, it does put this space back on the tax-roll.

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

Anyone who would name a development "The Polo Grounds" is clearly "Judge Smails" of Caddyshack incarnate.

paulsobo
paulsobo

I'd rather see a high rise 5+ stories and them row houses fitting with the style and period of the neighborhood

Why is that so hard

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

I love how people say community meetings are "open" when no one actually knows about them, let alone where or when they're going to be.

It's like the "community" meeting about the True Bethel project that's being developed atop of Scajaquada Creek across the street from their church. The meeting was only advertised in the tiny community calendar in the Challenger, and I only heard about it earlier the same day because I happened to be talking to someone who happened to know about it who happened to mention it to me because something related happened to come up in conversation.

And the badly designed housing project being developed near West and Maryland that's been criticized on Buffalo Rising. After the criticism, the developer was encouraged to go back to the drawing board, so they hired Westside NHS to do "community outreach." That "outreach" apparently included only some discussions with folks on adjoining blocks, with other westside stakeholders getting the word entirely by happenstance. I went to one of these discussions after hearing about it second or third hand (because I happened to be in the right place at the right time), and found the revised plans to be not much different from the ones that were widely panned.

Etc.

saltecks
saltecks

Buffalo spends money on hiring consultants to develop Small Area Plans and Large Area Plans. Then when it comes time to apply the plans they chuck them is the circular file.They don't even adapt 10% of a study. Why bother wasting money in the first place?

bernicebuffalove
bernicebuffalove

This is not urban.

Get rid of the unusable green space and add more units. Take away the park like settings and meandering streets and make it oriented like a true city block. It will add more $$$ to your rental income and reduce your maintenance headaches/costs for landscaping and upkeep.

As for my opinion on the actual building design, I will withhold until I see the actual renderings however I doubt they will have an urban feel. Just sayin'.

bernicebuffalove
bernicebuffalove

Looking at the plan, it appears that one would not be able to walk to the station unless winding down the road, right? I can't tell if the lines are streets or some sort of narrow water way.. lol

whatever
whatever

Huh? Daniel, what's your basis for implying this will include a retail plaza?

daniel>"An urban plan would not have a retail plaza."

Nothing in the BR article says it will have retail. It mentions an older plan two decades ago in 1990s which proposed retail way back then. Nothing in the WGRZ report linked by BR mentions retail either. The BN didn't mention retail either, just residential

http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121227/CITYANDREGION/121229457

For another thing -

How can you possibly know it will be "racist" before there's any way to yet know what the races of its tenants will end up being?

Buffalo/WNY does have college students of color and medical students of color. Tenants won't be limited to students, anyhow - there could be a variety of people attracted to residential which will have 24/7 on-site management as WGRZ said this will, and other features.

How can you be so sure the racial composition of its tenants won't be at least as diverse as the residents in - oh, let's say in your favorite parts of Elmwood Village for instance?

Isn't "racist" a very extreme reckless charge to throw casually at people?

This project seems ok with me if it's fully privately funded and if it receives no special tax breaks.

Anyone who dislikes townhouses or anything about it are free to criticize all they want, and they can simply choose to not live there, live-and-let-live style.

But whether people favor it or not, it's bad and dumb to smear these developers as "racist" unless there's real verifiable reasons. It's like crying wolf - smearing people and distracting from real issues of racism.

Misty
Misty

As a rental property owner in the area, I love the idea of having a more diverse offering of housing in my neighborhood. Some neighboring streets are deteriorating in our area, which should be thriving. With colleges like UB South & Canisius, what a welcomed addition. For professionals looking to live in that area, what a relaxing environment. I am aware of a few open community meetings that were held with Legacy and Bonnie Russell holding a Q & A for neighboring residents. The location is perfect, the residents backed it & Buffalo will benefit.

paulsobo
paulsobo

Seems like everyone is focusing on the urban design aspects which I agree show that the people designing, building, managing and leading Buffalo into the future are ignorant, parochial, myopic and about 60 years behind the times.

I dont see anyone giving special attention that the real estate developments are all on current Light Rail and potential future Light Rail.

Obviously the developers are betting tomorrow will come and that is where they are placing their money.

Its sad that the developers are betting their money but in some cases with anti-urban designs.

Its also sad that the supposed engines of our growth cannot rally behind Light Rail expansion.

By the way, what ever happened to the plans to redevelop the Pierce Arrow Factory?

burbsarenotbuffalo
burbsarenotbuffalo

I have had dealings with Chinnici in the past as well as his people at Legacy- I wouldn't trust a single thing that man says. He is a hot headed jerk and a total liar. My expectations are very low for this development just based on the fact that I know he is in it only for himself. Autumn Creek is one of the most awful places I've ever seen.

DTK2OD
DTK2OD

I remember in my Projects in Physical Planning class at UB one of our guest speakers was involved in that original Main-Lasalle Revitalization plan and brought several of the visuals with him. It's hard to believe the only thing we were left with was the William Price Parkway. I don't think it would have been quite as offensive if they had included some mixed-use buildings fronting Main Street, instead of the garbage-strewn berm the neighborhood was left with. What a missed opportunity.

It would have been nice if the developers had reached out to people living in the community to see what they actually wanted, but other than a few news snippets this is the first real announcement I've heard. With the Bethune Lofts looking better and better every day and the planned mixed-use project at the Cattalian Center in the works, the Heights has an opportunity to turn a corner. As it stands, this project adds nothing to that positive momentum. Here's hoping the developers are willing to enter into a cooperative dialogue with community members.

jesster
jesster

Shoshone is not a poor park. Go there in the summer,. It is home to thosands of children playing baseball and \softball both organized and organized. Meanwhile during the winter months offers itself to be a dog park connected to the dead end to the surround neighborhood. It is an active and integral part of the University Heights- NB- neighborhood- Although small it itneracts extremely well with neighborhood despite its size- Not all parks are Olmstead style and as far as an utilized neighborhood urban park, Shoshone is extremely active for it s size.

Rand503
Rand503

Pretty bad -- nothing urban about it. Just a typical suburban-style lot. No I really don't think students want to live like their parents while in college! What numbskull thought that up? Obviously, no one ever talked to a real live student and asked them what they want in a community.

Matthew.Ricchiazzi
Matthew.Ricchiazzi

I agree with your comments. Bad parks are common. I think you reinforce my point. Shoeshone and McCarthy are poorly designed parks that don't interact well with the neighborhood.

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

I talked with someone who was involved in the Main-Lasalle Revitalization plan. Although it's generally bad planning to co-opt abandoned railroad corridors in ways that block their ability to be reused in the future should the need arise, otherwise it was a solid plan. Mixed-use, proper street frontage, etc.

What I was told is that the Masiello administration torpedoed it in favor of what's there now because the developer simply wanted to make money building, essentially, a suburban housing tract within city limits, and not bother with all the other things. Used connections with the then-mayor to get their way.

Sound familiar--?

Dan
Dan

Again, the idea of preserving open space for its own sake has often resulted in too many poorly designed, underused, and unloved parks.

The best urban parks are those that have a lot of street frontage; areas that are visible, accessible, and defensible from the public realm. In Buffalo, consider Delaware Park, with street frontage on all sides, compared to parks on remnant sites that are hidden behind backyards like Shoshone Park, Houghton Park, and Schiller Park.

McCarthy Park, like Shoshone and Schiller, is similarly isolated and hidden. Adding more land to it will make it a bigger park, but without significant street frontage, it won't make it a better park. It's not a beloved open space that is an integral part of the Kensington/University Heights area, but rather a reclaimed quarry site that sees little use outside of KBB.

Matthew.Ricchiazzi
Matthew.Ricchiazzi

There is a lot of underutilized industrial lands just south of McCarthy Park. It would be great to give the University Heights neighborhood an expansive urban park of the same quality and caliber of Delaware Park, which I would argue would increase the density of development in the long run, and would certainly increase property values in the short run.

http://changebuffalo.org/universitypark

saltecks
saltecks

Website says "student oriented housing" .

Dan
Dan

Open space for its own sake.

UberGeek
UberGeek

Main St. is largely inaccessible for the main portions of it, due to the transit rail.

Once they get the dual-use plan straightened out, and worked on, people will move back onto Main St.

Another thing NFTA should look at it making all of Main St. dual use. Because, right now, you've eliminated any chance of marketing Main St. for a large portion of travelers.

Captain Picard
Captain Picard

Yeah, I'm sure the developers were thinking, "hey, let's make sure we do everything possible to keep those people of color away from us, even though they live a block away."

99% of decisions made by developers are FINANCIAL in nature.

Racist? Are you kidding? What planet are you living on?

CindyLee
CindyLee

There goes my neighborhood...

Buffalo All Star
Buffalo All Star

Ehh..the renderings are pretty bad..I'll withold my judgement until we can actually see what the townhomes and apartments will look like and what will actually be facing Main Street.

Infill is inherently a good thing but we will see..you guys are late with this one. This was in the snooze last week..BRO was scooped!

In the mean time I will get my violin and cheese for all of you WHINERS!!!

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

Buffalo doesn't seem to know what true urban design is--'cause this ain't it.

Daniel Sack
Daniel Sack

What a horrible anti-urban, racist plan.

An urban plan would have more street connections to adjacent streets like Manhattan, LaSalle, Camelot, Dartmouth, etc. At least it appears that the connection to East Amherst Street remains. Urban street plans have short blocks and many connections.

But no, need to separate our precious new place from "them".

An urban plan would not have a retail plaza. Are we going backwards?! A plan for a city would encourage retail on Main Street. Get it? MAIN STREET.

nyc
nyc

how did they screw up that masterplan so badly?

So they carefully crafted a plan for the LaSalle station that balanced retail, residential, and open space creating the basis for an attractive walkable new urban neighborhood while reinforcing the transit station and then said, "oh F#*K it! Who cares!!, Let's just build sh*t!"

should anyone be surprised?

paulsobo
paulsobo

No doubt ugly, cheap, suburban...the type Buffalo can't wait to demolish.

But what is the real message behind these new apartment developments ... the are once again all near existing light rail or future light rail. The real estate developers know this and the people know this....but the government won't build it....40 years without 1 new station....and Lark in District and Central Terminal would be dirt cheap....so would Galleria and airport.

300miles
300miles

There's a whole lotta empty space in their concept plan. Why can't anyone ever design a *real* urban townhouse / rowhouse plan?

JSmith
JSmith

I wonder what he meant by the quote that ends the article. Judging by the site plan, he certainly wasn't talking about the form of the buildings, which look like typical suburban garden apartments.

Perhaps he just means that an "urban-based multi-family residential project" will be less fancy-looking than a "luxury apartment community" like Autumn Creek.

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