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At 960 Busti, a former warehouse is transformed

Building Buffalo is a regular feature highlighting progress on development projects throughout the region.

Project name: 960 Busti.

Address: 960 Busti Ave., Buffalo.

Developer: Ellicott Development.

Cost: $6.42 million.

Government assistance: $339,000 in sales and mortgage recording tax breaks from Erie County Industrial Development Agency, $800,000 loan from Buffalo Billion fund and $1.2 million in historic tax credits.

Description: Adaptive reuse of 56,000-square-foot former warehouse into apartments and commercial space.

Status: Mostly completed.

Lowdown: Ellicott Development is mostly finished with converting a four-story former warehouse on the West Side into a mixture of apartments and commercial space with views of the Niagara River.

The project created 18 upscale apartments on the upper two floors and 27,000 square feet of retail and commercial space on the first two floors of the building. The apartments – including one-, two- and three-bedroom options – range from 840 to 1,690 square feet each in size, with monthly rents of $975 to $2,395. As of now, more than half are now leased, said Thomas M. Fox, director of development for Ellicott. He added that “interest in the commercial space has been high,” and that officials are “closing in on those tenancies” for the first two floors.

The building also includes both surface and covered underground parking, with 30 spaces.

Aside from “a few minor details,” work is now finished on the two residential floors and the base exterior work for the entire building, Fox said. Construction on the indoor parking will begin shortly.

The warehouse, which overlooks the river near the Peace Bridge, was originally constructed in 1922 as a service building for the Buffalo General Electric Co., and was later occupied by Multiform Desiccants. It was last used in 1995 and sat vacant for 20 years before Ellicott took on the extensive historic renovation that preserved elements of the original architecture but with modern touches for energy efficiency, convenience and safety.

– Jonathan D. Epstein

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