Share this article

print logo

Fight is on over fate of Bachelor Apartments

A developer says a historic downtown apartment building built in 1886 must be torn down to build a planned $75 million, 12-story development.

The Buffalo Preservation Board says the occupied, four-story Bachelor Apartments should remain and that it meets the requirements for local landmark designation.

A special meeting has now been set for 3 p.m. Jan. 28 in City Hall to consider giving landmark status to the building, at 331 Franklin St. at Tupper Street. A recommendation to do so would still have to be approved by the Common Council.

“This is a good development for the City of Buffalo,” said William Paladino, president and chief executive officer of Ellicott Development. “It’s right in the entertainment district, and it fits right in with all of the uses. We’re pretty excited about it. Unfortunately, a building like this has to go.”

Paladino said the project – which would include a hotel and market-rate apartments – cannot be done without a parking ramp being located where the Bachelor and surrounding parking are.

City sanitary and storm sewer requirements don’t allow for underground parking, he said.

If the project proceeds, Paladino’s company has an agreement to buy the building from developer Nick Sinatra.

Paul McDonnell, the Preservation Board’s chairman, said the building meets the criteria established for landmark status. It is one of the oldest buildings by Green and Wicks, the Buffalo firm whose work, he said, “was unsurpassed by any other local architect.” It was once home to a number of prominent Buffalo bachelors.

“A lot of movers and shakers lived there,” McDonnell said. “The unfortunate thing is we take the building for granted. I think its disappearance will really be a loss to the city.”

The Preservation Board is charged with considering the historic value of properties within the city, and the impact if removed or altered.

Paladino said his company would take steps to commemorate the building if it is able to develop the site. A banquet area would be named for it, and there would be photographs that document the building’s history. Cornices and other elements from the Bachelor also could possibly be incorporated into the new design, he said.

Paladino is hopeful the Common Council will support the project if the Preservation Board recommends making the Bachelor a local landmark.

“I don’t think the Common Council will approve it, because I think they support our project,” Paladino said.

Council President Rev. Darius G. Pridgen, who represents the Ellicott District where the building is located, said he has not taken a position yet.

The special meeting also will take up local landmark designations for five unused buildings at the Crosby Co. complex, a metal stamping company at 183 Pratt St., and the former North Park Branch Library, 975 Hertel Ave., where Benderson Development is considering locating a retail development.