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Plans to redevelop the Boulevard Mall in place

This will allow the Town of Amherst and developers to continue with redevelopment plans.

AMHERST, N.Y. — At one point in time, Town of Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa says the Boulevard Mall was worth $99 million. 

Today, he says it's worth $10 million. 

"It's been a pretty big fall from grace," Kulpa said.  

So now the town, along with owners and developers Douglas Development and Benderson Development, are hoping to revive the area by turning it into a neighborhood with mixed-use buildings.

But there's two problems.   

One is that the infrastructure runs through the mall. 

"So if you wanted to drive a road through a mall or cut the mall up, you'd interrupt the services every time," Kulpa said. "After the infrastructure problem, there's a lot of legacy leases out there."

Legacy leases previously kept developers from doing anything. That's because some tenants also owned the parking lots as well, making them untouchable. 

So in June, the town re-designated the property as an urban renewal area. It specifically helps with foreclosures and businesses who aren't actually in operation anymore. 

One example is Sears. The lease is still active and includes the parking lot. However, the business is no longer operating there. 

Now the town and developers can take the land back by force and move forward. 

"We're just in the mindset now of who wants to be in and who wants to be out of this? And if you want to get out of it, then either get out, or we'll help you get out. If you want to be in, then here's the direction the town wants to go. here's our plan," Kulpa said. 

The Amherst Town Board is also acting as the Amherst Urban Renewal Agency and will need to approve a plan by next month.  

Kulpa says the town hopes construction can begin in the spring and it won't be completed immediately. 

He estimates you won't see the project completed for another five to 10 years. 

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