by Joshua Maloni
Developer Richard Hastings plans to move forward with his proposal to build condominiums around the Frontier House for baby-boomers and seniors. He met Tuesday with Lewiston retailers to describe his project, which was approved in March 2008 by both the Planning and Zoning boards but held up via court proceedings initiated by PSR Press.
In an interview this week with the Sentinel, Hastings said he is ready to move on with the plan. The first step, he said, would be forming a partnership between Hastings Lewiston Inc. and the law office of John Bartolomei - the Niagara Falls attorney who represented his interests in the lawsuit - and EI Team - the Buffalo architectural and engineering firm that drew up his designs. The trio will form Ridge Street Development LLC.
"I'm confident with the strength of my two partners that it can be brought to fruition," Hastings said. "It's a damn good concept and project."
Taking on partners, he said, would help offset his engineering and legal fees.
Barring any self-imposed changes to his design, Hastings doesn't have to return to the Planning or Zoning boards. However, he does need final approval from the Village Board to start construction in and around the historic Frontier House, which the LLC will soon own.
He said he expects to receive approval and then continue design work within about three weeks. He said the building's parking lot, which he currently has open to motorists, would likely close at the end of the summer.
Hastings seeks to build 27 living quarters alongside the Frontier House and additional retail or dining units adjacent to the building. When first presented, the plan's estimated cost was $13 million.
The Article 78 lawsuit brought against Hastings Lewiston Inc. and the Village of Lewiston was dismissed in October 2009.
The Village Board meets again on Monday, June 21, at 6 p.m. in the Red Brick Municipal Building on the corner of North Fourth and Ridge streets. As of press time, Hastings had not officially asked for a spot on the agenda.