Jan. 8—The F&M Building and adjacent old Frontier Mall on Main Street are poised to be purchased by RAS Development for residential and new commercial use.
Company head Robert Savarino, formerly of Savarino Companies LLC, asked the city planning board on Monday to recommend its site plan, which calls for turning 120 Main, the mall property, into 14 apartments, a common area and indoor parking.
The company is under contract to purchase both properties and Savarino said he believes the sale will close in April or May.
RAS Development is purchasing the properties from EA Granchelli Developer LLC. Savarino approached the planning board for a sense what he can and cannot do with the properties before completing their purchase, according to Chief Building Inspector Jason Dool.
As for the F&M Building, Savarino plans to create 16 apartments on the top five floors and commercial space on the first floor.
According to the company’s application, the proposed mixed-use redevelopment project will require an abatement and demolition permit from the City of Lockport, water from the city, “Part Two” approval from the New York State Historic Preservation Office and backflow prevention approval from the county health department, as well as a parking variance from the city’s zoning board of appeals.
Savarino said construction could start as early as this year.
“I’d like to be in a position where we can firm up our construction numbers and design,” he said. “We can’t have that until we have that approval from SHPO and National Parks Service because we need to know if they accept our renovations. Then I’ll get pricing and hopefully start by summer.”
Savarino said he did not know how much his company will invest in the project, adding that he was attracted to it by the amount of state grant support offered.
“The city itself was a real stimulant, too,” he said. “They were responsible for DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) money, Restore New York and the like. There was a Main Street grant that would help us pay for some of the asbestos environmental cleanup … you have to have a community that’s a champion on the inside to help navigate and that’s another reason why (we were attracted.)”
The F&M Building has been vacant for more than 38 years, according to RAS Development.
Robert Savarino is formerly of Savarino Companies LLC, which was pursuing the purchase of the F&M Building and 120 Main Street until it declared bankruptcy in August of 2023. RAS Development was formed in 2008.
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