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Historic Elk Street grain elevator to get new lease on life as offices

A historic grain elevator in the city’s Valley neighborhood, just south of Larkinville and the Niagara Thruway, is getting a new lease on life, thanks to an architectural firm.

The city Planning Board on Monday approved a $1.8 million proposal by Young + Wright Architectural to convert the former Kreiner Malting Grain Elevator at 50 Elk St. into its new offices.

The building, later used as a grain facility for Buffalo Malt Group, has been vacant since that company left in 1986. Over the years it has been defaced with graffiti and similar vandalism.

But the 13-year-old firm plans to renovate 19,055 square feet of space within the existing structure, restore or add windows, and create a new mixed-use building. Young + Wright, which has outgrown its current location in the Larkin District, would occupy the entire second floor of the boomerang-shaped structure, moving its 50 employees from the Schaefer Building at 740 Seneca St. It would also lease out the first-floor commercial space, perhaps for retail or light industrial use.

“For the first floor, we’re starting to talk to possible tenants, looking for different possibilities that might fit into that neighborhood,” said firm partner Shawn Wright.

The remaining interior areas would be stabilized for later redevelopment.

On the outside, renovations would include brick repair and repointing, repainting the concrete silos, new roofs, the addition of canopies and new entrances and the reinstallation of windows that have been blocked in for more than 30 years.

“We intend to paint every square inch of the concrete,” architect Paul Kinney said.

The historic renovation project, which will involve federal and state tax credits, also includes 48 off-street parking spaces, green space, landscaping, sidewalks and exterior lighting on the 1.9-acre site, located at the corner of Elk and Fulton streets.

Officials hope to begin construction in the spring and finish by January 2018.

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