Building on the success of past projects along Niagara Street, a Buffalo architect-turned-developer is hoping to remake another former manufacturing facility on the West Side into attractive residential living with waterfront views.
Karl Frizlen’s Frizlen Group is seeking to convert a four-story masonry warehouse and manufacturing building into a mixed-use project, with 30 market-rate apartments and up to 5,000 square feet of commercial space.
The $2.5 million project, dubbed Lofts @ 1485 Niagara, will take the 33,550-square-foot former Aldrich & Ray Manufacturing Company building at 1485-1491 Niagara – across from Natale Development’s ongoing Crescendo Lofts project – and bring a combination of tenants to the 19th-century bright red-brick complex. Besides the apartments, plans call for 2,000 square feet of office or retail space in the main building, while an attached 3,000-square-foot metal warehouse would be used for “light commercial” purposes.
Constructed in 1887, the building’s traditional facade is in good shape, with “only minor repointing of the masonry” required, according to a letter Frizlen wrote to Planning Board Chairman James K. Morrell. The existing windows will be replaced with aluminum-cladded wood models, while the attached warehouse will be covered with corrugated metal siding “to reflect industrial character,” in keeping with historic preservation standards.
“The building will exceed standard performance criteria and we will make sure that it will contribute to and enhance the neighborhood’s character,” Frizlen wrote.
The project also includes the transformation of existing open land on the 0.75-acre site into parking for 62 cars, plus the addition of green space.
If approved by the Planning Board, which will consider the project Monday evening, construction would begin in April 2017, and would finish by March 2018.
Additionally, the Board will consider a pair of renovation projects submitted by Louis Design Solutions Architecture LLC – one for eight apartment units on Pearl Street, and one for new storefronts on Main Street.
In the first project, Brian P. Louis wants to renovate a three-story masonry apartment building at 134 North Pearl St., converting it from six units to four, while adding a 9-car parking lot on the south side yard. Specifically, instead of two units per floor, the first phase of the new concept calls for two one-bedroom units on the first floor and two larger two-story, two-bedroom apartments that each occupy part of the second and third floors. A second phase of the project incorporates the four apartments in the two-story frame structure next door at 136 North Pearl.
The buildings are in the Allentown Historic District, so the project will be financed in part by state and federal historic tax credits. The project was approved by the Buffalo Preservation Board, but also needs a zoning variance.
Louis is also proposing to renovate part of a one-story commercial building at 1245 Main, restoring original storefronts along both Main and Northampton streets. According to documents filed with the Planning Board, a prior owner of the 0.82-acre site “at some point in the past” removed the storefronts and filled in the openings with concrete block.
The first phase of the $100,000 project focuses on the first bay from the northeast corner of the building, which once housed a post office branch, but now has a raised loading dock area with a truck “apron” that were constructed over a steel frame, more than nine feet over the ground. The dock, apron and a below-grade space accessible from the building are in bad shape, so the owner decided to take them out instead. The dock will be demolished to grade level, with the existing parking area extended into that space, while a new retaining wall with a wrought-iron fence will be constructed.