Developers said Friday that they will spend $50 million to redevelop the long-vacant former Trico building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and intend to respect the iconic nature of the massive complex.
Krog Corp. and Hart Hotels Inc. plan to convert the Trico building on Ellicott Street into two hotels, apartments and other commercial businesses.
“We looked at this project carefully and feel comfortable with what we are planning to do,” Peter Krog said.
Krog has a contract to purchase the Trico building. The Buffalo Brownfield Restoration Corp., which owns the property and named Krog’s firm as the property’s designated developer in December, is expected to approve the project Tuesday, company officials said.
Officials said 500,000 square feet of the building’s 600,000 square feet of space is usable and will contain a boutique hotel and an extended-stay hotel, with about 230 rooms in all.
The project also includes several 1,200- to 2,000-square-foot apartments, commercial and retail space and an indoor parking garage.
The developers intend to redevelop the building while respecting its historic significance, Krog said.
Among other things, the plan calls for “loft-style” apartments that will feature some of the current interior structural components.
Construction is expected to start later this spring and be completed by the spring of 2016.
“Krog has extensive experience in brownfield redevelopment and adaptive re-use of historic buildings,” Krog said. “Krog was the first company in New York to complete a project under the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, and has since completed numerous other projects on brownfield sites.”
Mayor Byron W. Brown announced during his State of the City address that plans for redevelopment of Trico had been finalized.
“It is a good deal for the city of Buffalo,” said Brendan R. Mehaffy, executive director of the city’s Office of Strategic Planning. “It preserves the vast majority of this building.”
Krog is working with the state Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service to obtain historic tax credits as part of project’s financing, and with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to obtain brownfield tax credits.
Krog has experience dealing with complicated projects, such as the Trico building, which had presented serious challenges for other developers.
“They have a skill set that most people do not,” Mehaffy said. “That really leads to them having a much better ability to analyze these things and bring a future to buildings like these that others may not be able to.”
Krog and Hart have partnered on projects before, including the Four Corners Building in Orchard Park.
The Trico complex, which fills the block between Ellicott and Washington streets north of Goodell Street, includes five industrial buildings built from 1890 to 1954.
The medical campus previously served as designated developer for the site and had an agreement with Peter Krog to sell the Trico property to his Orchard Park development company for $1, a price based on the high cost of cleaning and restoring the site. But the campus’ designation expired late last year, leading Krog to deal directly with the restoration corporation.
Krog officials said two appraisals of the property were completed, one by Krog and the other by the city, and the parties agreed on a sale price.
The purchase price is $35,000 plus closing costs, but will not exceed $45,000, Mehaffy said. The agreed-upon price is above the medical campus’ price of $1, below one of the appraisals, but significantly above another appraisal, he said.
Krog initially planned to build a hotel in the old SmartPill building, 847 Main St., but medical campus officials agreed to buy and convert that building into office and lab space while giving Krog the right to build a hotel elsewhere on the campus.
“It’s a great project for the campus,” said Matthew K. Enstice, president and chief executive officer of the medical campus.
In 2012, talk of demolishing part of the site elicited public criticism after medical campus officials failed to find a developer willing to take on a larger restoration.
“I thought nobody could do this,” said Enstice. “We had many consultants take a look, and they didn’t think there was much you could do to make a commercial project work. It’s the partnership between Krog and Hart that makes the difference here.”
Enstice also said he anticipates the medical campus will close on a deal to buy the SmartPill building by mid-March.
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