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Self-storage planned for two Tonawanda Street properties

A pair of former industrial properties on Tonawanda Street in the city's Black Rock neighborhood are destined to become self-storage facilities, if a pair of developers get approvals from the city's Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board.

Wayne Bacon and Jack Ruh want to convert the three-story former Fedders Radiator building at 31 Tonawanda St. into an indoor, climate-controlled storage business, while constructing a series of at-grade outdoor self-storage garages on vacant land across the street at 150 Tonawanda St.

That's near the Scajaquada Creek and adjacent to the former New York Central Freight House at 68 Tonawanda St. that Karl Frizlen and Jason Yots are converting into the Black Rock Freight House Apartments.

The 75,000-square-foot red-brick masonry building would feature several hundred units across the four levels of the primary complex, according to plans by Carmina Wood Morris.

Plans for the decaying former industrial manufacturing and storage facility also include a facility office, a manager or caretaker apartment and two business suites – all to be located in the former high-bay manufacturing and shipping space.

As part of the project, the developers will remediate the land through the state Brownfield Cleanup Program, replace the roof, repair and repaint the masonry, reopen historic openings, install new windows and replace a corrugated metal cladding system.

Across the street, Bacon and Ruh also plan a 17,000-square-foot ground-level self-storage operation.

The total cost of the project is still undetermined, Ruh said, adding that it's "more than I expected it to be." His initial projection had been $1.5 million, he said, but repairs to just part of the roof already cost half of that.

Ruh and his wife already operate two Secure Storage facilities in Orchard Park and the Town of Niagara, next to the Fashion Outlet Mall. The two new facilities will also use the Secure Storage brand.

The developers are seeking two variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday for 31 Tonawanda St., and a rezoning by the Common Council of 150 Tonawanda St. from a rail designation to light industrial. The 1.85-acre project must still be reviewed by the Planning Board, expected in January.

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