Guest columnist Jim Costello, Director of Business Development
As you have traveled around the town of Penfield in recent months you will have noticed a lot of construction activity throughout the community—that’s because Penfield is again a popular place to build a new business or residence. We have had a boom of medical-related construction and housing development serving apartment dwellers, seniors, and homeowners.
Empire Boulevard, in particular, is experiencing a renaissance. Many new projects are either under construction or in the process of being approved for new construction.
In the past year, BayTowne Plaza has seen the construction and opening of a new 186,000 square foot Super Walmart; a new 5,000 square foot brewery called WhichCraft Brews has been approved and is expected to be open this summer; Napa Wood Fired Pizza and Bistro opened; and the former Sal’s Birdland and Pizza Hut were recently demolished to make way for a new Chili’s restaurant. Pizza Hut has been relocated into the plaza and is open for business. The former Beale Street restaurant was also recently demolished to make way for a new restaurant as well. (That restaurant has not been determined as of this column.)
What will happen to the former Walmart building? It is currently being considered for reuse and the planning board is reviewing the renovation of that building to be subdivided into five new tenant spaces. To date, Burlington (formerly Burlington Coat Factory) and Shoe Dept. are two prospective tenants for the repurposed commercial space.
Qdoba Southwest Grill, at the intersection of Empire Boulevard and Bay Road, has replaced the former vacant Mobil on the Run Convenience Mart, which cleaned up a perennial eyesore in a highly visible location.
The apartment complex at Southpoint Cove on lower Empire Boulevard, now known as Waters Edge Apartments, started construction in 2013 is nearing completion. Five of the nine apartment buildings have been completed and have been leased. The remaining four buildings are all under various stages of construction, and all are expected to be finished later this summer.
In the Panorama Valley area, the Hampton Inn Hotel on Panorama Trail South, with 79 guest rooms, is nearing completion and is expected to be fully operational by summer.
I am often asked when the site of the former Carriage Town Cleaners at 1600 Penfield Road will be cleaned up and redeveloped. I am happy to share that the owners have met with the planning board to discuss the development of an office building for the site. In addition, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has approved the applicants’ site remediation plan to mitigate contamination at that location. Site remediation is planned for this summer and construction of the office building could begin once the site receives a clean bill of health from The NYSDEC.
To the east, the U of R Urgent Care building at 2128 Penfield Road has recently been completed and is open to the public. Nearby, the Eyesite building at 2142 Penfield Road is near completion and should open soon.
Across from Target, a new building was recently completed at 2150 Fairport Nine Mile Point Road. It houses Moe’s Southwestern Grill and an AT&T sales and service center. They are open for business with access through the traffic light/turning lane near Jeremiah’s. A third tenant is being sought for the remaining tenant space and it should be filled soon.
Several residential projects are also underway. Most notably, the Ellison Heights apartment project, approved in 2012 and located on Penfield Road across from the Allens Creek Townhomes, has recently started construction. This project consists of 180 units in five, four-story buildings along with a 3,000 square foot clubhouse and swimming pool.
For our elder residents, Heathwood Assisted Living at Penfield is in the process of adding a 30,000 +/-square foot addition to better serve Penfield’s senior population.
Elsewhere in Penfield, an 86 single family residential subdivision known as Windsor Ridge is currently under construction at the northeast corner of Atlantic Avenue and Five Mile Line Road. The model home has been constructed and several lots have been reserved. The developer recently submitted the final site plans for the remaining lots in the subdivision as interest from prospective home buyers continues to grow.
Phase one of a 24-unit townhouse project known as Barclay Park, located at 1213 Fairport Nine Mile Point Road (immediately north of the Abbington Place subdivision) is also under construction and units are being reserved. Section 2B of the Crowne Pointe subdivision on the south side of Plank Road, east of State Road, is under construction for 18 new homes.
I regularly take calls regarding the status of perennial eyesores in town. Many residents will be happy to know that two visible and often complained about sites have recently been demolished to make way for redevelopment.
First is the former Camp Haccamo site, which had become the victim of vandalism and a safety concern to both town and area residents. Demolition of the site began in late 2016 and ended in January 2017. Plans are being prepared to redevelop the site.
The second site was home to a long-abandoned auto service station on the northwest corner of Atlantic Avenue and Fairport Nine Mile Point Road, just east of the Penfield Town Hall. That site, which was also the subject of contamination remediation, has been cleaned up and the building demolished. There is no specific plan for the redevelopment of the site at this time.
I hope this information has answered some of your questions about current development activity taking place within the town. If you have any questions regarding any of the sites discussed in this column or other sites of interest to you, please call the Penfield Planning Department at 340-8640 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be pleased to provide you with any available information. You can also stay informed of all town projects by following town news at our website, www.penfield.org. Along with general town news you will find meeting agendas, live and archived meeting video, and online documents.