Weekly Feature



2018-08-09 / Front Page

A vibrant place to be: Lancaster CDC property set to sell at end of August

by AMY ROBB Editor


The La Bella Associates concept plan shows where parking would be within the new central business district, surrounded by multiuse buildings. The La Bella Associates concept plan shows where parking would be within the new central business district, surrounded by multiuse buildings. The much-anticipated development of the Lancaster Community Development Corp.’s property may be closer than many think, with Plum Bottom Creek LLC set to close on the 4.4-acre property by the end of this month.

(See editorial on page four)

Although a date hasn’t been set for closing, the purchase is expected to be finalized by the end of August for roughly $925,000.

Tom Sweeney, with Glassco Management, who was behind the revamping of the former Carson’s Jewelers into the Gilded Maple in June, orchestrated the purchase and continues to work with village officials to make sure changes are reflective of what residents want.

“It’s really going to be a true partnership between us, the village and the town, and the area — if you will, the community — to build this together,” said Sweeney.


An aerial view of the concept plan for Lancaster’s CDC property, outlined by LaBella Associates, shows where roundabouts would be placed, as well as multiuse buildings with retail space and apartments. An aerial view of the concept plan for Lancaster’s CDC property, outlined by LaBella Associates, shows where roundabouts would be placed, as well as multiuse buildings with retail space and apartments. “The CDC has done a fantastic job of managing this building to success. It’s full. It’s completely full. It’s profitable. We don’t have to buy the property and then rush to develop it. We can do it in sections and in phases because the rest of it already makes sense; it’s a huge deal.”

The parcel, which includes Save-A-Lot, the former BOCES building and a parking lot, has stagnated over the years, with only two other developers looking to see the property brought to its full potential.

“It includes the building on Aurora Street and the building on West Main Street. We own from the chocolate shop west, so all that part of the building also, it includes,” added Jim Allein, CDC chairman.

Dick Young is looking to purchase a small portion of the CDC property from Sweeney next to North Aurora Street and Cayuga Creek, to turn into a restaurant, apartments and a museum dedicated to all things Lancaster.

Young, who led the way for a firefighting museum on West Main Street and is the founder of Performance Advantage in the town, also intends to house the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency and Lancaster Area Chamber of Commerce under his purchase.

The village has been looking for development for 40 years, and since its formation in 1998, the CDC has been attempting to secure a developer who will carry through its vision of a revamped multiuse space with plenty of walkability and green areas.

Other proposals made for the parcel included a development plan via Stampede Capital Partners and an offer from attorney Mark Acquino.

“We had Stampede. They approached us, and then they stepped out of the picture without even making an offer,” added Allein.

“Mr. Acquino made an offer, and the CDC membership rejected it, and then Mr. Sweeney made an offer last fall, and we voted on it in April, and it was accepted unanimously.”

A concept plan for the parcel was presented by LaBella Associates earlier this year, thanks to a feasibility study partly funded by an Empire State Development grant.

The plan consists of first-floor retail and restaurant space, with second and third floors being apartments, according to Ruda.

Sweeney’s five- to seven-year plan, which will stick with the historical need for three-story buildings, aims to have 12 to 15 buildings within the space.

“[Sweeney is] hoping to break ground in April 2019,” said Lancaster Village Trustee Lynne Ruda, who also heads the Lancaster Village Economic Development Committee.

“The village is going to be responsible for putting in a roadway through that parcel, and then the LaBella plan recommends two roundabouts, one at North Aurora and Pleasant and one at Pleasant and Central.”

Of course, the concept plan created by LaBella is very much subject to change and is being treated as a jumping-off point for everyone involved.

“This is a concept that they proposed, but a developer does not have to follow it. They can get ideas from it, but they don’t have to follow the concept,” added Allein.

“I’m really excited about what’s happening throughout the whole central business district. I think it goes to show that the Village of Lancaster and the central business district is becoming a vibrant place to be.”

Once the purchase is final, the next step will be for developers to work with the Lancaster Historic Preservation Commission on the project.

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