Graduate students from the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning presented their projects to local media today highlighting their ideas for the Eastern Hills Mall redevelopment project.
Uniland and Mountain Development Corporation (MDC) are co-owners of the Eastern Hills Mall. The redevelopment project will transform the mall’s 100 acres of infill into Western New York’s first Town Center.
Uniland and MDC are currently partnering with Gensler, the world’s largest architecture and design firm, on developing a master plan for the site. The Town of Clarence, working closely with the developers, have rezoned the mall site to enable redevelopment.
As part of their graduate coursework, students from the School of Architecture and Planning used the Eastern Hills Mall redevelopment opportunity as their Capstone Studio project in which they spent a semester creating redevelopment concepts for the mall property.
The students then presented their work to Uniland Vice President Carl Montante, Jr. and Marc Bruffett, a Principal and Strategy Director at Gensler’s New York City office and the project lead for the Eastern Hills Mall master planning phase. Mr. Bruffett is a graduate of the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning and an advisor to the program. Mr. Montante is a graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Management.
At the public presentation, University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning graduate students Kevin Turner (a Clarence native), Jeff Rehler, Mustafa Ardalan and Sylvester Mallardi highlighted their ideas and how they approached the project.
Town of Clarence Supervisor Patrick Casilio, University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning Associate Dean Ernest Sternberg, UB Senior Fellow in Real Estate Development Mark Foerster, Gensler’s Marc Bruffett, and Uniland’s Carl Montante, Jr. also spoke at the event, which was held at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning.
According to the Urban Land Institute, a “town center” is an enduring, walkable, and integrated open-air, multiuse development organized around a clearly identifiable and energized public realm where citizens can gather and strengthen their community bonds. It is anchored by retail, dining, and leisure uses, as well as by vertical or horizontal residential uses. At least one other type of development is included in a town center, such as office, hospitality, civic, and cultural uses.