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Developer wins green light to renovate church near Medical Campus

The remake of Our Lady of Lourdes can begin.

Ellicott Development Co. won approval from the Buffalo Planning Board on Monday to start work on its $4 million renovation of the century-old church into a mixed-use facility just north of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

That's the second phase of a larger project that also includes construction of a six-story commercial building next door that will be linked to the church at Old Best Street through an interior corridor.

Under the adaptive-reuse proposal for the church building at 1115 Main St., the developer will create two additional floors in the sanctuary space with a total of 15,000 square feet, giving it the ability to put more tenants inside.

Plans call for retail and restaurant space on the first floor, 5,700 square feet of commercial office space on the second and four market-rate apartments on the third.

New life for Our Lady of Lourdes Church

The church has been vacant for years. (John Hickey/Buffalo News file photo)

Workers will also fix up the Medina sandstone, wood trim and copper flashings on the exterior, replace the windows and roof with historically accurate, aluminum-clad wood windows and asphalt shingles, and add five new skylights into the roof to give the apartments more natural light, said Jeremy Wassel, Ellicott's planning and development coordinator.

An earlier plan to build a glass atrium and "wintergarden" between the 32,128-square-foot church and the new building has been scaled back to an outdoor cafe that will not be fully enclosed. The board did not approve those changes, as Ellicott Development has not yet finalized the materials it will use for that portion of the project.

"We can't approve something if we don't know what it's going to be made out of," said Board Chair James Morrell.

Meanwhile, Wassel said construction on the larger 194,000-square-foot building just to the south — which was approved by the city in February — is expected to start within 30 to 45 days. Officials expect to complete the $45 million project within 12 to 18 months.

Ellicott Development is proposing a new six-story building that will be a prominent part of its Our Lady of Lourdes Church campus. (Rendering courtesy of Ellicott Development)

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