Weekly Feature

2018-05-16 / Front Page

‘The Abbey’ ready for concept review


After more than two years of oscillating between the Town and Planning boards as ownership battled a litany of bureaucratic challenges, Russell Salvatore Jr.’s lavish enterprise on Transit Road is finally ready for conceptual review.

At the Town Board’s May 9 meeting, Salvatore requested preliminary concept review of “The Abbey” — a proposed multifamily housing expansion of an existing mixed-use development at 6449 Transit Road.

The project, a 20,000-square-foot, two-story building on the east side of Transit, north of Old Post Road, would feature a mixture of eight two-bedroom luxury apartments and four retail spaces. Two retail uses, one to be used for a 40-seat Mexican restaurant with outside dining and another for a boutique clothing store, were approved by the town in 2016.

Chris Wood of Carmina Wood Morris, an architecture, engineering and interior design firm located in Buffalo, spoke to the board on behalf of the project. Wood told board members that the proposal calls for eight apartment units within two buildings in addition to 30 added parking spaces onsite.

“We do recognize we have to go to the [Zoning Board of Appeals] for a variance in the number of units we’re proposing. We can propose six units, but we’re requesting eight,” said Wood.

At the forefront of a project that has been mired in a tussle among the developers, town and county since its inception has been the discussion related to the building’s exterior material.

In 2016, Salvatore and Dave Sutton of Sutton Architecture appealed to the board for approval of an amendment to the previously approved special exception use permit that stipulated a brick facade on all exterior building sides.

They proposed to modify the structure to remove the brick facade from the rear exterior wall and portions of the side walls, and instead implement vinyl siding — a proposal that was not well received by the board, citing that every building between Old Post Road and Miles Road on the east side of Transit features an exclusively brick façade.

At last week’s Town Board meeting, Wood responded to board members’ questions regarding the building’s exterior by noting that certain progressions in the project’s development process were necessary before a final decision can be made regarding the façade.

“The architecture of the buildings hasn’t been figured out yet. We’ll figure building elevations once the architect gets further along in the process,” he said. “We’re waiting to go to the ZBA for those units. If we don’t get the variance, the architecture of the building could change.”

Supervisor Patrick Casilio told Wood that the town will insist upon a fence bordering the property’s northern boundary.

“One of the conditions will be a fence along the north property line so that people will hopefully park where they’re supposed to park and not on other people’s properties,” Casilio said.

The building’s framing has been in place at its location on Transit Road since March 2017. Development work on the interior began shortly afterward, and tenants have been acquired for the entirety of the building’s lower level.

The Town Board voted to send the project to the Planning Board for conceptual review.

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