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P-J photo by Eric Tichy
Rob Savarino with Savarino Development Corp. is pictured during a special Falconer Village Board meeting Tuesday.

FALCONER — A real estate development company with ties already to Chautauqua County is now setting its sights on a largely vacant block in the village.

Savarino Development Corp. recently approached Falconer about purchasing several downtown parcels. The front end of the block previously housed commercial and residential buildings, but were destroyed in separate fires in 2017 and 2018.

During a special meeting of the Falconer Village Board on Tuesday, trustees approved a purchase and sale agreement for six village-owned parcels on West Main and Everett streets with the Buffalo-based Savarino Development.

Four of the parcels are located on Everett and consist of open parking spaces. The remaining two are vacant lots on West Main.

According to county records, the six parcels have a total assessed value of $76,000.

Rob Savarino briefly spoke to Village Board members prior to Tuesday’s vote. He provided preliminary plans for the project, indicating it would be mixed-use with both commercial space and residential units such as apartments or town houses.

“It’s a real estate development, so there is some time for us to sort out all of the issues. This is just the starting point,” Savarino said. “The company that I represent has done numerous projects of this type.” Savarino alluded to what had been known as Falconer Square, a proposed housing project at the same site that fell through after developers were unable to secure funding.

“I know there was a previous purchaser that failed to consummate the deal,” Savarino said. “I think it had a little bit to do with funding, or obtaining funding, most notably low-income housing tax credits from the state. As you know, that’s a pretty competitive round.

“Our plan is to not utilize such funds — not here to say we’re duplicating someone else’s efforts just hoping for better luck. That’s not what our plan is.”

Falconer Mayor James Jaroszynski said redeveloping the downtown block has been “in the works, as we all know as a village, since 2017, 2018 when the fires occurred in Falconer.”

After the Falconer Square project fell through, village officials turned to the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency. The village was put into contact with a realtor about four to five months ago. “Lo and behold, four to five months later we have this offer on the property,” Jaroszynski said, later adding, “I think this village really desires something in that spot where the fires were.”

As noted by the county IDA this week, Savarino Companies will be heavily involved in the renovation and management of the Welch building in Westfield. Several dozen apartments and 3,700 square feet of commercial space are on tap inside the historic structure at a redevelopment cost of $18 million.

Jaroszynski, along with trustees Anthony Cavallaro and Annette Miller, voted to approve the purchase and sale agreement between the village and Savarino. Trustee Alan Gustafson Jr. voted against the sale, citing the few details that were provided ahead of Tuesday’s special meeting. “This project will impact Main Street for decades to come,” Gustafson said afterward. “Given the short timeframe to review the purchase offer and a need for more specific details of what is envisioned for the property, I could not commit to moving forward at this time. That said, I support mixed-use housing and new commercial space in our downtown, and I look forward to Savarino Development bringing new life to Falconer Square.”

Savarino said with the agreement, the company will now commence with the planning stage of the project. “All of the details of the development are still subject to village review and the public input,” he said.

Jaroszynski referenced after the meeting that Savarino may be looking at obtaining other parcels as part of the development.

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