Out-of-state company to provide housing for area students

The current structure at 100 Forest Avenue.

Eric Bomysoad

The current structure at 100 Forest Avenue.

A new off-campus student-housing complex proposed for the West Side could become the home for as many as 600 SUNY Buffalo State students pending an environmental review and other small hurdles, according to papers submitted to the Buffalo Planning Board.

Campus Crest, the nation’s second-largest student housing provider based out of Charlotte, N.C. is planning to take down the former Westwood Pharmaceuticals facility at 100 Forest Ave. and build a new housing facility geared toward Buffalo State.

The plans for the complex, which will be named “The Grove at Buffalo State,” call for nine four-story apartment buildings in total that will feature 216 apartment units for two, three or four bedrooms, said Jess Sudol, the project’s manager.

There will also be a clubhouse available to students who live in the housing, along with a pool, volleyball and basketball courts and a 24-hour on-site management team in charge of security and other services.

According to a report in The Buffalo News, the project will total $15 million on top of the cost of demolition and the initial purchase of the property, which has yet to take place.

The Buffalo Planning Board will assess the environmental sustainability of the project before it moves forward. It also must clear hurdles to gain approvals for land-usage and rezoning clearance to transition from manufacturing to residential use.

Sudol said gaining the approvals for demolishing the current facility and developing the apartments usually takes about three months. He said construction likely wouldn’t begin until late 2014.

“We’re in the very early stages of land use approvals of development,” Sudol said. “We’re just starting that right now.”

Housing will also be made available to students from other area colleges, according to Sudol.

It will be similar in purpose to Collegiate Village and other student housing complexes recently built for students of the University at Buffalo, Canisius, Medaille and Buffalo State.

“It’s called student housing, not dorms,” Sudol said. “It’s not exclusive to Buffalo State. Students pretty much from any other college can live there.”

The project will use about 11 acres of the 22-acre property that runs between Danforth and Niagara streets.  Campus Crest does not plan to purchase the remainder of the property, Sudol said.

“We haven’t identified any major issues yet,” Sudol said. “We’re working in due diligence and updating all of the environmental testing.”

The 486,000-square foot manufacturing facility was previously run by Westwood Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Contract Pharmaceuticals. It was bought by Industrial Realty Group LLC in April 2012, for $4.75 million.

Calls to Buffalo State’s Residence Life office and city officials seeking comment on the project for this story were not returned.

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