CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Town of Clarence is moving forward with plans to turn the Eastern Hills Mall into a mixed-use site. Developers met in front of the town board last week to present their latest plans.

“We didn’t want that to become a big box store outlet, a used car lot, or a warehousing facility,” said Town Supervisor Patrick Casilio said about the site.

But that won’t be the case if the town and developers keep moving forward. The plan is to turn the mall into what town officials are calling a “living center,” fitted with residential, retail and office space.

“It’s very important for the Town of Clarence. It’s very important for Western New York. It will be Western New York’s first living center,” Casilio said.

According to Uniland Development’s website, the $132 million plan will roll out in a series of phases over the next 10 years.

Ania Duchon owns Sto Lat Bar and Chrusciki Bakery at the mall. She said she believes this will bring a big boost in business – especially with plans to have people living on site.

“I believe this is going to be absolutely wonderful for all of us,” she said. “If at some point we will be relocated, we were promised Uniland would relocate us to the new courtyard.”

Right now the plan is to have 1,400 living spaces. In a statement, a Uniland Development spokesperson said “As we see both nationally and locally, there’s a strong demand for contemporary housing options. We believe the residential aspect is vital to creating a vibrant, walkable mixed-use destination.”

University at Buffalo School of Management professor Charles Lindsey told News 4 that mixed-use sites are replacing malls across the country.

“We really are seeing a tremendous migration, especially when it comes to your regional malls, to mixed-use, lifestyle centers, town centers – about 20 to 25 percent [are] predicted to convert in the next few years,” Lindsey said.

The next step will be for developers to present the plans to the Town of Clarence planning board. If everything is approved, a Uniland spokesperson said they would like to begin phase one of construction within the year.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.