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55 urban apartments planned by Sinatra in warehouse conversion on Main Street

Another former Buffalo warehouse is poised to become dozens of new apartments designed for an urban lifestyle, as developer Nick Sinatra completes his purchase this week of the former American Household Moving & Storage building on Main Street.

An investment group led by Sinatra & Company Realty will close shortly on the six-story facility at 1665 Main, paying $1.35 million for the warehouse just east of Michigan Avenue, said broker Nick Corto, of Arista Real Estate, who represented the seller.

The building has just under 100,000 square feet of total space but only about 88,463 square feet of usable space, according to Corto.

It was owned by Mark A. Lampart, owner of American Household, which decided to downsize and consolidate its operations. The moving company, an agent of Allied Van Lines, is relocating to 50,000 square feet of leased space at 1110 Military Road, just west of the Village of Kenmore.

The deal also includes two adjacent vacant properties at 1653 and 1655 Main, including the former longtime site of Freddie’s Doughnuts that has since been demolished.

Sinatra, together with members of the Nanula family and construction contractor Sundra Ryce of SLR Contracting & Service Co., plans to spend $8 million to redevelop the building into 55 one- and two-bedroom apartments, with 7,500 square feet of commercial space on the first floor.

The adaptive reuse project, dubbed the Midtown Apartments, is aimed at young professionals who want a walkable or ride-sharing lifestyle.

Rents will range from $900 to $1,075 per month, and the units will feature wireless Internet control of utilities, as well as convenient access to bike-sharing services and a nearby Metro Rail station.

The commercial space, which Sinatra described as “modern, industrial space” with high ceilings and garage doors, has not yet been rented, but Sinatra said the group has talked with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus about using it for informal “graduation space” for D!G, 43 North and other regional startup programs.

The project, designed by Edward O. Watts Jr. of Watts Architecture & Engineering, already received $1.2 million from the Better Buffalo Fund, part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative. The group is not seeking historic tax credits.

In addition, Sinatra said the development group wants to partner with PUSH Buffalo to support workforce development, by including workers from lower-income and minority areas on the city’s West and East sides.

The group is also donating a percentage of the project’s profits to Set Free Inc., a nonprofit that works to improve the city through faith-based initiatives to bring public and private sector leaders together with clergy.

And the developers will team up with Say Yes Buffalo by donating 10 percent of the project’s profits to the nonprofit college scholarship program, just as Sinatra is doing with his Phoenix Brewery project on the Medical Campus.

“It’s pretty extraordinary. I think he’s joining the team and supporting our students in a very unique and progressive fashion,” said Say Yes Buffalo Executive Director David P. Rust.

“I just really appreciate that he’s betting on our kids with the city’s renaissance. It’s a great story and we’re appreciative and excited to continue the partnership.”

Construction, which had originally been planned to start in the spring, will begin as soon as possible, with completion targeted for a year later, Sinatra said.

email: jepstein@buffnews.com