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Falls development agency learns of renovation plans for Third Street site

NIAGARA FALLS – A Third Street property owner wants to repeat some renovations across the street from a previous project.

Craig E. Avery recently closed on the purchase of 460 Third, and plans to renovate the currently vacant storefront and apartment space, he told the board of the city’s lending arm, NFC Development Corp., on Monday.

Avery said he plans on refurbishing four apartments in the two-story property, as well as more than 6,000 square feet of retail or restaurant space on the ground floor.

The NFC Development Corp. board in 2010 awarded a $200,000 grant to Avery’s ERDCO Development for the renovation of 451 Third, a property across the street from 460 Third that consists of eight apartments and four storefronts.

Each of the eight market-rate apartments renovated at 451 Third has a tenant, Avery said.

“We’re happy with the eight that we created,” he said. “We’re hoping to reach 12.”

The retail space at 460 Third may have up to three separate businesses, said Avery, including spaces of 4,500 and 2,200 square feet, the latter of which may be divided in half to create two 1,100-square-foot spaces.

Under terms of the 2010 grant, Avery must repay it if the property is sold before Dec. 31 of this year. The grant is secured by a first mortgage.

On Monday, the agency approved the subordination of the mortgage, as requested by Avery and his bank, to assist him in obtaining financing for the project at 460 Third. Under the action, the agency agreed to allow Avery’s bank to have a mortgage with a higher priority than the agency’s.

“I would be in favor of anything we could do to facilitate your continued participation in these projects,” Mayor Paul A. Dyster, chairman of the agency’s board, said to Avery prior to Monday’s approval, which passed by a 12-0 vote.

The retail space of 451 Third includes Third Street Liquors and the recently closed Yvonne’s Bakery & Cafe.

The property at 460 Third was previously owned by Chen Cheng.

In other matters, the agency:

• Agreed to extend the terms of a previously approved $10,000 grant and $30,000 loan to Royal Cafe, 311 Hyde Park Blvd., until Sept. 30 of next year. Under the original approval made last year, renovations were to have been completed by June 30 of this year, but owner Tracie Zortman put the project on hold because of family health issues.

• Appointed Ralph Aversa, the agency’s former executive director, to a vacancy on the board. The former city councilman fills the spot of Jamie Johnson, who resigned.