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The Buffalo News (New York)


Site plans for a proposed sports complex and microbrewery at a nearly vacant Wheatfield shopping center could be reviewed by the town Planning Board in August or September, said Jonathan E. Bennett, a Lockport architect working on the Summit project.

Plans for the Williams Road site, once called the Summit Park Mall, have lagged because of financial and other issues.

In fact, a tax break for the sports complex, approved in April 2017 by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, is no longer valid and the mall owner would have to reapply, according to NCIDA Executive Director Susan C. Langdon.

Cynthia L. Potts, mall operations manager, said owner Zoran Cocov of Brampton, Ont., has not made a decision on reapplying for incentives for the sports complex.

Plans have changed for the sports complex. The original plan for two 96,000-square-foot buildings with inflatable roofs has been replaced by a plan for two metal field houses. They would be the same size as the domes were supposed to be: 400 by 240 feet, each 35 feet high at the eaves and 75 feet high at the peak of the roof.

Metal buildings are a better choice, because they are "more practical buildings to use," Bennett said.

Two-thirds of the space in the sports buildings will be devoted to artificial turf fields suitable for soccer, lacrosse and other team sports. There also would be three or four hardwood basketball courts.

Bennett said the project also calls for two outdoor baseball diamonds on land southeast of the mall. The field houses would be attached to the rear of the mall.

The cost estimate for the sports domes was $7.3 million. Potts said there is no official estimate yet for the cost of the metal field houses.

On the front side of the building, the former Save-a-Lot store would be the site for Big Thunder Brewing Co. and its brew pub. Bennett said the plans also call for an outdoor bar beside four outdoor volleyball courts.

The $2.67 million brewery project was to be funded chiefly through a bank loan and the investors' own money.

Cocov bought the mall and 570 acres of land in 2014 and obtained a tax break for a $17 million rescue plan.

After most of the stores closed, the mall was heavily vandalized, with copper pipes removed, causing flooding in the 810,000-square-foot building. Sears, which owned its own space in the mall, currently is having a going-out-of-business sale.

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July 16, 2018


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