New apartment complexes and bar closing times topics at University Heights Collaborative meeting

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A new student housing complex, parking and bar closing times were among some of the topics the University Heights Collaborative discussed at its general meeting Tuesday night.

The collaborative assembled in Glora J. Parks Community Center to provide updates on developments within the Heights neighborhood. Mickey Vertino, president of the University Heights Collaborative, spoke about the new student housing complex, Axis 360, which will be located on LaSalle Avenue off of Main Street.

Vertino said he hopes the complex will be a positive addition to the Heights neighborhood and that he’d like to see more businesses that want to serve students in the neighborhood and some forms of entertainment.

“We wanna spread this out where it’s not just a concentration of wild house parties [in the Heights],” Vertino said. “I think we can get really actively engaged within the community.”

Vertino said Axis 360 is looking to hire students to work within the living community and should bring in at least 300 more residents into the Heights.

“I’m interested to see what kind of impact this will have on our community,” Vertino said. “What’s it going to mean to our student population? It means that they’re going to have other choices.”

Vertino said the starting rent for the housing complex will be somewhere around $1,000 or higher. He said the apartments would have 500 “upper-scale” bedrooms and 250 units.

The gated community will include a recreational facility, theater and a myriad of amenities to serve the students.

An open house for the housing complex will take place in January, in which developers will show off their models and plans for the apartments.

Collaborative members also briefly discuss Livionia HDFC and CB-Emmanuel Realty LLC’s planto redevelop the now former Campus North School located on Cordova and Minnesota Avenues into 47 new apartments.

Vertino said the housing complex will focus on bringing young professionals into the neighborhood.

Vertino said he met with Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs earlier Tuesday to discuss the recent initiative to change the bar closing times from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. The Heights Collaborative is currently working to compile data of the “pros and cons” of changing the bar closing times.

Vertino said they are comparing data to other counties, such as comparisons of DWI arrests and alcohol-related deaths in Erie Country versus other counties where the closing time is 2 a.m.

Data is being collected and compared to Monroe, Onondaga and Albany Counties to assess if there are major differences that would compel lawmakers to change the closing times.

A resident of Northrup Street in the Heights neighborhood spoke of his concerns with students taking up residential parking spaces. The collaborative agreed that enforcing parking laws between students and residents was an issue that needed to be addressed with City of Buffalo personnel.

The next University Heights Collaborative meeting will be held on Jan. 12.

Ashley Inkumsah is the news desk editor and can be reached at ashley.inkumsah@ubspectrum.com.