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Natale buys Aldrich & Ray building on Niagara

As work continues to transform a former Niagara Street warehouse into the Crescendo Lofts, owner Angelo Natale is taking aim at his next redevelopment project – directly across the street.

Natale Development, through 1485 Niagara LLC, paid $599,000 on Friday to acquire the former Aldrich & Ray Manufacturing Company building from Bowmart Niagara LLC, according to Erie County Clerk records and broker William Heussler of RealtyUSA, who handled the deal.

Specific plans are not yet clear, although a redevelopment is likely. The four-story masonry structure sits between Potomac and Bird avenues, across from the Niagara Thruway and Niagara River, affording views of the water and Unity Island. Natale said he and his partners bought it "to serve as an amenity to the community," with tenants such as a market, yoga studio, infrared sauna studio or wellness facilities as possible options for the space.

That would represent the second go-around for the vacant 19th-century complex in the last eight months. Located at 1485-1491 Niagara, the 33,550-square-foot red-brick warehouse and industrial building had been targeted last year by architect-turned-developer Karl Frizlen for a mixed-use residential and commercial project.

Frizlen had hoped to capitalize on the building's waterfront location, as well as its proximity to the better-known Crescendo project, to create his Lofts @ 1485 Niagara project. His $2.5 million proposal called for 30 market-rate apartments and up to 5,000 square feet of commercial space, including 2,000 square feet of office or retail space in the main building, plus 3,000 square feet of "light commercial" space in an attached 3,000-square-foot metal warehouse.

The project was to have started in April and finish by March 2018. But his effort foundered last fall as the State Historic Preservation Office determined the facility would not qualify for lucrative tax credits of up to 40 percent of the development costs because the northern part of the complex had already been torn down. Frizlen never completed the purchase of the property.

Meanwhile, work continues across the street on Crescendo at 1502 Niagara, where Natale and his partners are converting the seven-story former Bison Storage building and an adjacent one-story structure into 41 loft apartments, a first-floor restaurant, a rooftop terrace fitness center and other amenities.

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