Pressroom

Westwood redevelopment plan revealed

Innovative conceptual master plan calls for traditional neighborhood in
the heart of Amherst


$238 million project will generate $58 million in property tax revenue,
create 2,300 construction jobs

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Mensch Capital Partners, LLC, owners of the Westwood Country Club property on Sheridan Drive at North Forest Road in Amherst, has developed an innovative conceptual master plan to create Westwood, a new traditional neighborhood in the heart of Amherst that will feature great public spaces, a variety of residences and a neighborhood center that are all complementary to the surrounding community and the entire Town of Amherst.

“This is smart development using traditional neighborhood design, which includes residential, recreation, neighborhood shops, hospitality and professional office space elements,” said Andrew J. Shaevel, managing partner for Mensch.  “Our design includes key components of the Town of Amherst Bicentennial Comprehensive Plan, which envisioned this very scenario, ‘when continued operation (of a golf course) becomes difficult due to changing demographic, economic or social trends.’”

Shaevel pointed to Amherst’s Comprehensive Plan, which defines the desired characteristics of future mixed-use development in the Town to include, and was utilized in as the Westwood conceptual plan was put together: 

  • Pedestrian-friendly, interconnected, mixed-use development patterns
  • Variety of residential options
  • Strategically located shops and restaurants
  • Preservation of open space throughout the Town
  • Encourage walking and biking within new development

“The Town's plan is the Westwood plan.  Our development goals are in sync with the goals of the Town’s comprehensive plan:  quality new development, open space, sensitivity to environmental resources and promoting a healthy tax and employment base.  "Westwood will provide all Amherst residents access to a new traditional neighborhood that today is a private country club, exclusively available to only 350 members,” Shaevel said.

The conceptual master plan for Westwood includes:    

  • Park, Lakes and Ponds – 64 acres of public green and open space, pedestrian and bike trails and lake access, representing approximately 38 percent of the site
  • Patio Homes – 108 patio homes adjacent to Audubon Par 3 Golf Course
  • Townhouses – 90 condo/townhouses with access to public green space and recreation features
  • Single Family Homes – 46 single family lots with direct access to the park, lake and public green space and recreation features
  • Apartments – 56 rental apartments and townhouses
  • Senior Living – 200 assisted living and 100 independent units with access to open green space, recreation features, in close proximity to the mixed-use urban core
  • Banquet Facility – new event green space and banquet facilities utilizing existing club house
  • Neighborhood Center – 280 units of residential living over neighborhood shops and restaurants; 37 lakeside apartments or townhouses; 130 room hotel; 200,000 square feet of professional office space (six buildings); shared parking and new public gathering spaces

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Goody Clancy, a nationally renowned planner with relevant site expertise has been retained for the project, along with Fontanese Folts Aubrecht Ernst, a respected local architecture firm, and Nussbaumer & Clarke, Inc., a trusted and experienced multi-disciplined engineering firm to assist in creating a conceptual master plan.
The Center for Government Research (CGR) was engaged by Mensch to evaluate the economic and fiscal impact of the Westwood redevelopment project. 

CGR estimates that this redevelopment will:

  • Add 2,300 jobs during construction phase earning over $115 million
  • Assuming that only 25 percent of the businesses on the site are new to the Buffalo market, we estimate 400 additional jobs once fully operational earning $17 million annually
  • Generate an additional $58 million in property tax revenue more than offsetting the $25 million increase in the cost of government services
  • Generate an additional $17 million in sales tax revenue for the state and local government
  • Generate an additional $10 million in income tax revenue to the State of New York

Mensch submitted its rezoning proposal for the Westwood Country Club property to the Town of Amherst on July 10, 2014.  The review process will involve multiple public meetings including public hearings to be held by the Planning Board and the Town Board.

The process of reaching out to its neighbors to review the plan and to make adjustments based on thoughtful feedback is also underway.  Mensch will schedule neighborhood informational meetings in the coming weeks.

Mensch has established a new website at www.westwoodamherst.com to provide full public access to information and filings about the new Westwood neighborhood.