AMHERST, N.Y. — L.L. Bean is set to open next week in the Boulevard Consumer Square in Amherst.
During the time that L.L. Bean has been able to find a new location, complete construction and get open to customers, Station 12, L.L. Bean’s initial location, has sat the same.
There is still no activity on the Sheridan drive site that was planned to become 'Station 12', a lifestyle and retail center.
Town of Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa told 2 On Your Side Thursday that W.S. Development has reached out to town officials and said they are willing to have conversations about the project.
In September, Amherst Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa expressed frustration with the lack of work being done at the site. He said Boston based developer, WS Development had gone “radio silent” and said the town would not extend the developer’s permits when they expire at the end of the year.
During recent conversations, Kulpa said he informed WS Development that the town has ‘no confidence’ in their plan to create a retail-only environment at the former Northtown Plaza site.
“We want to see a site next to Whole Foods succeed but we think that the best route and the best means to that end is to see mixed-use,” said Kulpa.
In response, Kulpa said WS Development is allowing the town to help them look into ways to transform current plans into a mixed-use development.
“I think that they understand that there is a shot clock and the town’s patience has run thin,” he said. “They are going to need to show us between now and December that there is a seriousness and have to have some kind of letter of intent, some kind of effort to make us feel they are going to move forward before we have a conversation about what their permit fees and submissions to date have looked like,” said Kulpa.
Construction began on ‘Station 12’, the planned retail and lifestyle center in 2019. Construction was halted in March of 2020 after the pandemic hit.
The renderings for the 333,000 square-foot lifestyle center showed a walkable retail development with planned tenants such as Pottery Barn, Banana Republic and Athleta.
The town is suggesting WS Development add 2 to 3 stories of residential above planned retail space.
“The bottom line is, we know residential product is sought after, we know we have a deficiency of apartments and condominium residential product on the west side of town,” he said.
Given WS Development is based out of Boston, Kulpa said knowledge of what is needed in Amherst has been a challenge.
“Instead of coming in and telling us that you know our town and our market, why don’t you let us explain our town and our market to you,” said Kulpa.
2 On Your Side has reached out to WS Development for comment, we are waiting to hear back.