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Three downtown Buffalo apartment projects seek gap financing

Three renovation projects in downtown Buffalo are poised to receive $2 million in gap financing to support creation of 56 new apartments in the third round of funding under the Buffalo Building Reuse Project.

The Downtown Committee of the Buffalo Urban Development Corp., which administers the program, recommended that the agency’s full board approve loans to projects by Amy Judd, William Paladino and Nick Sinatra. The board will meet May 26.

Under the proposal, Judd would receive $750,000 for her Alexandre Apartments at 510 Washington St. The $3.9 million project would transform the vacant seven-story former Loew’s Theatre Warehouse into 13 market-rate apartments, while adding a new eighth floor and roof with a penthouse-style apartment. Four of the apartments would be wheelchair-accessible.

The project will also extend the sidewalk to strengthen the appeal of first floor retail space, which could include a cafe, fitness center or hair salon. The building would also incorporate a “public art” component through the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, according to the agency. Construction would take about 12 months.

Paladino’s Ellicott Development would get $500,000 for the adaptive reuse of the 24,800-square-foot historic former Our Lady of Lourdes church at 1115 Main St. into a $2.85 million mixed-use project.

The building would include 12 market-rate of 500 to 1,500 square feet each on the upper three floors, with 6,200 square feet of office or retail space on the first floor. It would also have bicycle storage, on-site parking, security, laundry facilities and basement storage for tenants.

And Sinatra & Co. Realty would get $750,000 to support its rehabilitation of 50,000 square feet of vacant warehouse space into the Phoenix Brewery Apartments at 835 Washington St.

The $7.67 million project on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus would include 31 market-rate, loft-style apartments, plus a rooftop garden patio for tenants. It would also offer both bicycle and car parking. an existing first-floor hair salon will remain, and Sinatra is working to bring in a 2,000-square-foot fitness center.

According to BUDC documents, Sinatra faces a “financing gap” because of “the uncertainty surrounding upscale housing east of Main Street and structural issues within the building.”