Lackawanna partners with Douglas Development to build $35 million mixed-use project

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Douglas Development has been chosen to develop  a $35 million mixed-use project planned for 539 Ridge Road in Lackawanna’s Second Ward, creating 160 market rate, 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 30,000 sq. ft of underground parking.

Lackawanna issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the site in January 2022 and Douglas was chosen for the project based on the quality of their RFP response.

City council approved the land sale and transfer to Douglas for $1 – recommended by Mayor Iafallo after Douglas’s stated intent to develop the 539 Ridge Road project without tax abatement incentives and pay full city taxes upon project completion.

‘We’re honored to partner with the elite development team at Douglas Development as we continue to move forward with my administration’s efforts to revitalize Lackawanna from both an economic and community development perspective,” Iafallo said. “Doug Jemal and his team have been making a transformational impact in the city of Buffalo over many years through successful completion of several multi-million projects.

“Given our proximity and similarity to Buffalo, my team has worked hard to bring the Douglas team to Lackawanna and today, I’m proud to say we’ve succeeded. This is another great milestone in restoring Lackawanna to prominence”

The 1.25-acre parcel in Lackawanna’s Second Ward was the location of the former St. Barbara’s R.C. Church, which stood from 1930 until it was closed/consolidated by the Diocese of Buffalo in 2008 and subsequently demolished in 2011. The diocese then sold the land to the City of Lackawanna in November of 2014 and the building remained vacant.

“My team and I couldn’t be more excited to work alongside with the wonderful city of Lackawanna. We think that Douglas Development can help play a role in catapulting Lackawanna back to what it once was,” Douglas Jemal, president and founder of Douglas Development, said in a statement. “With such rich history, simply minutes from downtown Buffalo, and a tangible eagerness within the community to get the ball moving, we felt like this was a perfect location for our next dynamic project.”

The proposed $35 million mixed-use project is the first of its kind in Lackawanna’s in over a generation and serve as the anchor for the Iafallo administration’s multi-million revitalization plan for the Ridge Road – Center Street corridor, which will include:

  • complete curb-to-curb reconstruction of Center Street in partnership with the Erie County Water and Sewer Authorities
  • construction of a grant-funded splash park/inclusive recreation park at nearby Franklin Playground, which is expected to open next summer
  • construction of three affordable single family residential homes by Habitat for Humanity Buffalo in partnership with the Lackawanna Housing Development Corporation

The next step in the process is for Douglas Development to present their project plans for 539 Ridge Road to the Lackawanna Zoning and Planning Boards before year end 2022. The project is expected to take up to 24 months to complete.

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