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Frizlen's Niagara project fails to win historic reuse support

In a rare defeat for a reuse project, a proposal to redevelop a former Niagara Street warehouse in Buffalo has fallen through after state historic preservation officials determined that the facility would not qualify because part of the complex had already been torn down.

Karl Frizlen's Frizlen Group wanted to convert the four-story former Aldrich & Ray Manufacturing Company building at 1485-1491 Niagara into a mixed-use project.

Plans for the $2.5 million project, which had been dubbed Lofts @ 1485 Niagara, had called for  30 market-rate apartments in the 33,550-square-foot red-brick masonry warehouse, with waterfront views of the Niagara River, and up to 5,000 square feet of commercial space. That included 2,000 square feet of office or retail space in the main 19th-century building, with an attached 3,000-square-foot metal warehouse to be used for "light commercial" purposes.

The project, which was to have started in April 2017 and finished by March 2018, had also included the transformation of open land on the 0.75-acre site into parking for 62 cars, plus green space.

But Frizlen said he was unable to win approval from the State Historic Preservation Office, because the northern portion of the complex was demolished earlier. Without the state approval, and a similar green-light from the National Park Service, the project would not have been eligible for the lucrative historic tax credits, which Frizlen had been counting on for as much as 40 percent of his project financing.

Frizlen does not own the building, as the purchase had been contingent on several factors, including the project winning the necessary approvals.

"We are not involved anymore," he said.



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