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A look at Buffalo's booming apartment scene

Developers and building owners added or announced hundreds of additional apartments in the city’s core last year.

They’ve turned aging warehouses, industrial complexes and office buildings into upscale loft apartments with high-end marble or granite finishes and stainless steel appliances alongside historic brick, wood floors and exposed ductwork.

[PHOTO GALLERY: Highlights of the apartment boom in Buffalo]

That’s what appealed to Orchard Park natives Kayci Caldwell and Eric Cohen. They live at the Turner Brothers Lofts on Niagara Street, which they found affordable and convenient to downtown restaurants and entertainment, as well as the Thruway. Cohen can even walk to work.

“They kept a lot of the old architecture, but modernized it, as well,” Caldwell said. “It has a rustic chic look, which I fell in love with right away.”

Many of the buildings that were prime candidates for renovation have already been tackled, so developers are starting to look to buildings on the near East Side – along Genesee Street, Broadway and Michigan Street – as well as on the West Side, along Niagara Street and Busti Avenue.

They’re also seeking sites for large new construction, such as Ellicott Development’s 500 Pearl and Ciminelli’s plans for 201 Ellicott St. Smaller fill-in projects are also underway.

Mayor Byron W. Brown has set a goal of 2,000 new apartments in downtown by 2018 to handle the growth of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and other businesses, as well surging demand for urban living. A survey of projects that have been completed, are under construction or have been announced in the city’s central business district and nearby areas shows developers are meeting that goal.

Here are some highlights among the new inventory.

Hydraulics Lofts / 500 Seneca St.
• Savarino Companies and Frontier Group of Companies
• 97 apartments
• Project cost: $38 million
• Monthly rent: $815 to $2,000
The historic rehabilitation of the former F.N. Burt manufacturing facility, built in 1901, created 110 apartments and office space. The building features a three-story atrium with a skylight, a courtyard, a restaurant, cafeteria, fitness center, spa and salon. A bicycle storage and repair facility is also included, as well as tenant storage, parking, meeting space and a pet day care. The $38 million development cost is for the entire building.

The Bethune Lofts on Main Street. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

Bethune Lofts / 2917 Main St.
• Ciminelli Real Estate Corp.
• 87 apartments
• Project cost: $15 million
• Monthly rent: $950-$2,050
The adaptive reuse of the former Buffalo Meter Co. manufacturing facility, built in 1915 in North Buffalo, transformed it into 87 loft-style apartments. The site includes secured parking, laundry and fitness facilities.

Buffalo River Landing / 441 Ohio St.
• Savarino Companies and Frontier Group of Companies
• 78 apartments
• Project cost: $18.5 million
• Monthly rent: $950-$2,000
This five-story, newly constructed apartment building on Ohio Street near the Buffalo River will feature 78 apartments, as well first-floor commercial space and indoor parking. The building will also offer boat slips for tenants and have a private boardwalk

The Fairmont / 199 Scott St.
• Ellicott Development Co.
• 30 apartments
• Project cost: $14.7 million
• Monthly rent: $795-$2,000
The eight-story former Coffee Rich and Arctic Freezer building was converted into a mixed-use project by Ellicott Development, with office space, 30 apartments, 15,000 square feet of second-floor commercial space, a restaurant and a 13,000-square-foot microbrewery in the basement.

The Sinclair / 465 Washington St.
• Ciminelli Real Estate Corp.
• 45 apartments
• Project cost: $16 million
• Monthly rent: $850-$2,250
The six-story, former University at Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center building has been converted to include 45 one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as first-floor retail and commercial space. The building also includes tenant storage, bike storage, a laundry room and a community room with kitchen.

The Seneca Street Lofts at 500 Seneca St. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

Seneca Street Lofts / 550 Seneca St.
• Frontier Group of Companies
• 48 apartments
• Project cost: $7.3 million
• Monthly rent: Starting at $945
Frontier Group of Companies renovated the four-story former A&P Bakery Building into 41 apartments, plus a mix of commercial space and 86 parking spaces in a connected two-story building. Another seven units are under construction for April 2017 occupancy.

Turner Brothers Lofts / 295 Niagara St.
• Schneider Development LLC
• 40 apartments
• Project cost: $10.5 million
• Monthly rent: $925-$1,750
Jake Schneider’s company converted two former warehouses into a complex with 40 apartments and a first-floor food operation for Ru’s Pierogies, a startup gourmet pierogi maker. The former American Storage Co. building, which has 32 one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom units, also includes a gated 47-car parking lot.

Phoenix Brewery Apartments / 835 Washington St.
• Sinatra & Company Real Estate
• 30 apartments
• Project cost: $6.6 million
• Monthly rent: $1,500-$2,000
Nick Sinatra renovated the four-story vacant building on the edge of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus into 31 residential apartments and commercial space. The building has a fitness facility and a hair salon on the first floor. There are also 24 indoor parking spaces, bike and tenant storage and a rooftop deck.

Elk Terminal Lofts Expansion / 250 Perry St.
• First Amherst Development Group
• 25 apartments
• Project cost: $3 million
• Monthly rent: $1,295-$1,995
Building off the earlier success of a 2003 project that turned a downtown warehouse into 72 apartments, First Amherst Development built 25 more apartments in the remaining warehouse space of the two-building Elk Terminal Lofts. The new units are mostly two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments. The building also has commercial office space.

The Planing Mill Apartments are at 141 Elm St. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

Planing Mill / 141 Elm St.
• TM Montante Development
• 22 apartments
• Project cost: $8 million
• Monthly rent: Starting at $1,800
TM Montante Development converted the former Spaghetti Warehouse and E.M. Hager & Sons Planing Mill into a mixture of 22 apartments and 10,000 square feet of office space in a three-story brick building.

Apartments @ The Hub / 149 Swan St.
• Schneider Development LLC
• 48 apartments
• Project cost: $14 million
• Monthly rent: $1,265-$2,075
A former local grocery business building, built in 1908, now features 48 loft apartments and first-floor retail space, including tenants Handlebar Pub and Hub Fit Studio. The building features a rooftop garden deck.

Bosche Lofts / 918 Main St.
• Greenleaf Development
• 23 apartments
• Project cost: $6.4 million
• Monthly rent: $1,400-$2,600
Greenleaf Development and the City of Buffalo worked to stabilize the historic but dilapidated buildings at 916 and 918 Main, eventually combining and redeveloping them to create 23 market-rate, loft-style one- and two-bedroom apartments with high-end finishes. The building includes 2,000 square feet of first-floor commercial space, plus a rooftop deck and parking.

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