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Warehouse near medical campus to become apartments

A real estate firm that has mostly focused on buying and managing existing apartment buildings is now trying to get into the apartment development business as well.

Matthew Cherry’s Glendale Realty Services Group is seeking to convert a two-story vacant warehouse between Main Street and Linwood Avenue near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus into a three-story apartment complex, without adding much to the building’s shape. Each of the existing ceilings in the 34,000-square-foot building is about 16 feet high, so plans by Silvestri Architects call for creating a loft level out of the first floor space in part of the building to create an additional floor.

The new 50,900-square-foot, brick-and-steel-frame building would feature 21 two- and three-bedroom units. There would also be 21 indoor parking spaces in the rear of the ground level.

Four single-story two-bedroom apartments in the front of the building on the third floor are planned, plus 13 two-level units in the back of the building.

Tonawanda-based Glendale purchased the warehouse on 0.53 acres at 31 Barker St., behind the Delta Sonic on Main Street in Buffalo, paying $875,000 to former owner Daniel A. Schwartz in early March. The firm plans to spend at least $2 million on the redevelopment, which also includes construction of a new 140-square-foot addition on the east side of the building to accommodate handicapped parking access. Glendale also plans to upgrade the existing brick facade and change some windows, especially in the storefront area. The entrance and exit would be off Barker.

The project is adjacent to but not inside the Linwood Avenue Preservation District, so Preservation Board review is not required. However, a zoning variance is needed for enclosure of a handicapped-accessible van parking area, so the Planning Board tabled the project Monday. A couple of neighbors also expressed some desire for additional green space on the property, and to retain the retail storefronts, but board members said that’s up to the developer, based on market demand.

Cherry did not respond to a request for comment. He and partner Harry Illenz previously built a four-story, 100,000-square-foot senior housing complex on Meyer Road in Amherst, with 101 units.

The Planning Board also agreed to lead environmental reviews for:

• A proposal for a new Dollar General store on 1.07 acres at 1756 Genesee St., where a former warehouse was demolished several years ago. David Pawlik’s CSS Construction wants to combine nine lots along Genesee, Kilhoffer and Zenner streets, rezone six of them, and erect a one-story, 7,500-square-foot building, with parking for 30 cars. Plans by C&S Engineers calls for construction to begin in October and finish by February 2017. Board members will hear a more detailed presentation at a later date.

• Construction of a planned new eight-level, 1,825-space parking ramp to replace the existing 900-space Ellicott-Goodrich Garage at 854 Ellicott St.

• An expansion of the Shoreline Apartments at 200 Niagara St.

Additionally, the Board approved an addition to the West Buffalo Charter School at 113 Lafayette Ave., and also recommended several proposals for approval by the Common Council, including:

• A sidewalk cafe for Sterling Tap & Wurst, at 1487 Hertel Ave.

• A sidewalk cafe for a restaurant in the Market Arcade Building at 615 Main St.

• A pergola and bar on the outdoor patio for the new Pasion Cuban restaurant at 153 Elmwood Ave.

• Conversion of part of a lower apartment in a two-family dwelling at 55 Tuxedo Place into a two-chair beauty and nail salon.

But it tabled a request by Ellicott Development Co. for a 16-foot-high pole sign for a new Rite Aid Pharmacy at 789 Tonawanda St., citing a desire for a lower ground sign instead. It also tabled United Way of Buffalo and Erie County’s request for a new sign at 742 Delaware Avenue, which was criticized last week at the Preservation Board because it would be advertising in the midst of the Mansion Row area.