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Three eyeing development of Hideaway Bay

OBSERVER Photo The blaze that destroyed the vacant Hideaway Bay remains under investigation.

Just one month ago, a fire destroyed former Silver Creek restaurant Hideaway Bay, which had been purchased in 2016 by the Chautauqua County Land Bank. The building had been vacant for many years prior to the Land Bank purchase; however, Gina Paradis, Land Bank executive director, is optimistic that the site will soon be redeveloped.

During the February meeting of the Land Bank’s board of directors, Paradis was pleased to report that, after some negotiation, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is allowing redevelopment of the site using the front foundation as the lake side boundary.

“We were very nervous about whether or not we were going to be restricted to be behind the coastal erosion zone, which ran right through the middle of the building and would have cut the parcel in half for our redevelopment,” Paradis explained to board members. “But we were able to get them to agree to let us redevelop right up to the front foundation.”

Currently, there are three active investors in communication with the Land Bank about the property. “Linda Burns from the Industrial Development Agency and I took our old request for proposals, simplified it a bit and revised it, and that should be going out to all the parties who had contacted us this last year with an interest in the property,” said Paradis. “We hope to have proposals in hand by the end of March that we can review and act on.”

According to Paradis, the site now looks very attractive to prospective developers, as St. George Enterprises cleaned and graded the property following the fire.

Mark Geise, CEO of the County of Chautauqua IDA said, “The site is 3.6 acres, and it has all the infrastructure there and arguably the best view of the lake.”

Reflecting on the Land Bank’s purchase of the property in 2016, Paradis recalled, “We knew when we picked it up that we might have to sit on it for awhile because the market just had to pick up a little bit. I think people needed to see that Athenex is real and that the market is turning around here — which it is. Now all of a sudden, it’s generated more interest in that site.”

Paradis said that interested developers have proposed six to eight townhouse-style housing units that fit comfortably on the site and provide “good viewsheds.”

Additionally, “All of them understand that we would like to see public/private access, so each one of them is having some sort of proposal to allow for a kayak launch, a small boat launch, or some sort of access to the beach for the public so that the village doesn’t lose that public access. … There may be a recreational component, too, to at least one of the proposals,” she stated.

Geise noted that original redevelopment for the site (prior to the fire) encouraged commercial development, especially restaurants. “We got nothing, and backed it up to residential and commercial,” he explained. “Really, we got nothing from that, so we backed it up even further to just residential and the response has been great.”

The blaze remains under investigated by the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office’s Fire Investigations division.

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