Ellicott Development Co. has completed its purchase of the historic Cooperage property near Ohio Street, setting the stage for its $7 million redevelopment project to begin.
The developer, owned by Carl and William Paladino, paid $526,100 through Cooperage LLC to Clinton Brown's Newark Niagara to buy the vacant and derelict complex at 55-59 Chicago St.
Plans now call for demolishing most of the crumbling former manufacturing facility and erect two new buildings in their place on either side of what will be preserved. The demolition was already approved by the city Preservation Board, which agreed that the deterioration was too severe to save.
Originally known as the former E&B Holmes Machinery factory, the facility is actually a single rectangular brick building comprising three sections of varying sizes, built at different times and encircling an enclosed central courtyard, which will be retained as a feature of the redevelopment.
The original four-story Mill Building was constructed in 1970, while the three-story Forge Building was added on one side between 1910 and 1912 and the Pattern Building a year later in 1913, with two stories on the other side of Mill. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
Ellicott now plans to gut and renovate a two-story, 10,000-square-foot portion known as the Pattern Building, along with a small office extension, and construct a 15,000-square-foot addition on one side. Together, that will house a brewery with a retail tap room, bars, food-service area and banquet space.
It will build a new three-story, 30,000-square-foot building with two first-floor retail stores — one for a distillery — and six apartments on the upper two floors. And it will construct another three-story open-space gymnasium for adventure activities like a climbing wall.
The Buffalo Planning Board has already started its review, with a public hearing expected this month prior to any possible approval. If they win a green light, officials hope to finish construction by the end of the summer.