Developer Rocco Termini wants to create more housing along Elmwood Avenue in North Buffalo and dub the neighborhood the “Pierce Arrow Village,” after the nearby former auto plant.
Termini, known for reviving the Lafayette Hotel and AM&A’s warehouse building in downtown Buffalo, is completing his second project in North Buffalo and is eyeing a third in the same neighborhood.
Termini, through his Signature Development Buffalo LLC, plans to convert the nearly empty former American Radiator office building at 1807 Elmwood Ave. into a mixture of 38 market-rate apartments and some commercial space.
The developer has the two-story building under contract and expects to close on it sometime in June.
Construction would begin immediately, with completion anticipated by January 2015. Termini still needs to obtain approval from the Buffalo Planning Board, and also plans to seek sales and mortgage-recording tax breaks from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, under its adaptive re-use program. The project comes before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals on Feb. 12.
The $9 million project, to be called the ARCO Lofts, follows Termini’s newly opened Houk Lofts around the corner on Grote Street and the pending Foundry Lofts across Elmwood Avenue.
“What we’re doing is trying to create critical mass there, with a third building in the neighborhood,” Termini said.
Termini completed the $6.72 million conversion of the two-story former Houk Wire Wheel building at 316 Grote St. into 22 apartments, a hair salon and a tattoo parlor called Ink Inc. The 28,160-square-foot building is now open and fully leased as Houk Lofts.
The 85,000-square-foot former FWS Furniture store and warehouse at 1738 Elmwood Ave. is being redeveloped into the Foundry Lofts, with 46 market-rate apartments and 25,886 square feet of commercial space that is already pre-leased. That $23 million project will be completed and open by May.
The 48,000-square-foot American Radiator building is currently owned by Mod-Pac Corp., a formerly publicly traded commercial print and paperboard maker that was taken private by owners Kevin and Daniel Keane in September. The company’s facilities are located in the former American Radiator manufacturing plant, which “made all the radiators you see in all the old houses in Buffalo,” Termini said.
The imposing brown brick-and-concrete building Termini is buying from the Keanes dates to 1904.
In other matters, the Zoning Board of Appeals also will consider applications to:
• Convert and use a convent at 700 West Ferry St. for a school and alumni meeting center;
• Convert a three-story office building and home at 288 Linwood Ave. into a bed-and-breakfast;
• Convert an office building at 83 Vandalia St. in the Old First Ward to a liquor distillery.