City Unveils Ambitious Redevelopment Plans for ‘Batavia Opportunity Area’

Submitted by Howard Owens on The Batavian

It’s an ambitious plan, one that takes in 366 acres in the heart of Batavia and targets at least five major areas for redevelopment, and it got a some favorable responses at a special public meeting Monday night.

“There have been a lot of plans done over the past 15 years and they have been shelved,” said local businesswoman Mary Valle. “Now, we are ready to move forward. There are a lot of exciting things going on in the county and the city. I do believe the people are ready to support it and more forward.”

Perhaps the most dramatic redevelopment proposal involves knocking down part of the downtown mall and extending Jackson Street north to Alva Place.

The plan would open up some of the mall concourse, improve parking and traffic circulation and improve development potential in the area, officials said.

An artist’s rendering shows a new three-story, L-shaped building at the corner of the extended Jackson Street and Main as well as a new three-story building on the east side of the new Jackson Street, next to the existing Bank of Castile building.

“I like the idea that we are doing something,” said Councilman Pier Cipollone. “I would prefer to see more retail come into the mall. I really like the idea of opening up the concourse.I would actually like to see the entire concourse opened up and create an open area walkway. I understand the notion of an indoor winter area, but I still thik it would make more sense to just open it up and give all those businesses access from the outside.”

The plan also calls for redevelopment in and around the Della Penna building on Ellicott Street, to stretch down Evans toward Mill Street and along the railroad tracks almost to Jackson Street.

Included in what’s known as the Batavia Opportunity Area is the Harvester Center — which has already undergone some redevelopment with the Masse Place project — and what the plan calls the medical corridor, which is the area east of Bank Street.

The plan builds on Batavia Central Corridor Urban Design, Marketing and Development Plan completed in 2006 and the recently completed Community Improvement Plan.

The planning phase is covered under a $260,000 state grant, the Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program.

The presentation, with artist renderings, is supposed to be posted on the Batavia Opportunity Area Web site some time this morning.

Story via The Batavian’s official news partner, WBTA.

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