From funeral home to Taco Bell in South Buffalo

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A longtime South Buffalo funeral home could be destined to become… a Taco Bell restaurant.

A developer and architect from Kansas – working with Rochester project manager Ray Trotta of Holland Trotta Project – are proposing to replace the former Quinn-Amigone Funeral Home at 184 Abbott Road with a new quick-service restaurant and drive-thru.

They’re asking the Zoning Board of Appeals for a series of area and use variances from the Green Code to make the project work, including to allow the drive-thru. Other variances relate to the front property line, the side setback, and front setback, according to the application submitted on behalf of developer Plaza Street Partners of Prairie Village, Kan., and property owner Synergy Acquisitions, an affiliate of Amigone.

Plans by Davidson Architecture of Overland, Kan., call for taking down the 5,666-square-foot building on the 0.67-acre property and replacing it with a 2,100-square-foot restaurant building, with 47 parking spaces on both sides of the structure. The project includes installation of water, sewer and storm water utilities.

Currently, KFC and Taco Bell – which are both owned by YUM Brands – share a restaurant building next door, at 170 Abbott, but the franchisee wants to expand each of them into individual businesses, officials noted in the application. They expect average sales at Taco Bell to double after it is separated. The remaining KFC building would be remodeled.

According to the application, the average Taco Bell franchise takes in $1.6 million a year in revenue, or $4,383 per day, and spends $312,000 a year on product, or $6,000 per week. Additional costs include labor, equipment, supply orders, maintenance, rent, utilities and the brand license. The profit margin at the end is usually about 7% to 10%.

But the application noted that 70% of the business at an average Taco Bell franchise comes from the drive-thru, so not having it “would create a financial hardship for the property” and the business would not be viable. The payback on the investment would take 30 to 260 years, the application said.

At the same time, it continued, “the allowance of a drive-thru for the restaurant would not alter the essential character of the neighborhood and it would help better serve the patrons.”

As for the other variances, the firm noted that other buildings in the area do not conform to the zoning rules, so approval would not result in “an undesirable change” in the “character of the neighborhood or be a detriment to nearby properties.”

“Being that the funeral business is not a viable structure for a proposed restaurant… the property owner is simply requesting to conduct business in kind with his surrounding neighboring businesses,” according to the application.

The ZBA will consider the request on Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. at City Hall.

The ZBA also will review a request for variances by Ahmed Saeed, owner of 2159 Genesee St., to allow him to renovate the one-story retail building and construct a 2,150-square foot addition toward Genesee for his grocery tenant, Stop & Shop.

That will double the building’s size from its current 2,000 square feet, and provide more space for both current and future tenants. A rendering shows a potential for four different storefronts. The requested variances relate to larger front and side yards and a smaller rear yard.

Published by The Buffalo News

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