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Termini seeks to replace concrete warehouse on Chandler with parking lot

Developer Rocco Termini wants to demolish an old concrete-block warehouse on Chandler Street in the city's Black Rock neighborhood as he continues his redevelopment of the longtime industrial zone into a new business incubator hub.

Termini, through his Signature Development Buffalo, is seeking Buffalo Preservation Board approval to tear down the 4,500-square-foot structure at 125 Chandler to make way for a new 118-car parking lot. That's designed to serve the tenants of nearby buildings that he recently renovated.

Those buildings – with 160,000 square feet of space located at 155 and 166 Chandler – now house a mixture of technology firms, offices, breweries, a restaurant and banquet facility, a gym and a salon. More than 700 people work in or visit those buildings, but there are "minimal lots in the area and no on-street parking" to handle the need, according to a letter to the Preservation Board from architect Benjamin Siegel, of BMS Design.

Siegel said the concrete building with an overhanging roof has no historic value, as it lacks "any unique or innovative design element nor did it ever house any historically significant function." It was constructed in 1945 using "mid-century" materials and methods, and was used for storage, but it's been abandoned for more than 10 years and is in disrepair, according to Siegel and city records. The building, which housed Mancini Motors auto repair shop, still has a sign on it proclaiming "Mancini Enterprises."

"There is evidence that squatters were living in the building at some point," Siegel wrote. "The roof has collapsed in many locations and the exterior concrete block has been compromised due to water infiltration and freeze/thaw cycles. The building is not safe to inhabit, and the high cost of renovation would prevent any further investment."

He urged the board to allow the demolition "to continue the rebirth of Chandler Street into a robust mixed-use community."

The project will be considered by the Preservation Board at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

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