A four-story warehouse on Exchange Street is poised to become one of the city's newest apartment buildings, if the Buffalo Planning Board approves a Rochester developer's proposed historic renovation of the Larkinville facility.
Park Grove Realty is ready to move ahead with a $16.5 million project to convert the 93,500-square-foot former manufacturing and distribution center at 619 Exchange St. into 60 apartments, plus offices and a 267-seat restaurant. The firm bought the former Iroquois Door Co. building in May 2019 for $1.45 million, and unveiled its general concept in late spring, with a goal of maintaining the building's historic industrial look.
Designs by Passero Associates for the new Iroquois Lofts call for renovating the brick-and-timber complex into a mixture of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, totaling about 81,500 square feet, with another 8,000 square feet of commercial space and 5,500 square feet of restaurant space. The project includes a lobby, a club room, an exercise room and common areas for residents.
About 6,000 square feet on the western portion of the site would be demolished to create room for 15 surface parking spaces, giving the project a total of 30 onsite spaces. A new sidewalk would also be put in along Exchange, and the current parallel spaces along the street would be restriped to maximize potential parking and provide another 20 spaces owned and maintained by the city.
Park Grove also is working with adjacent property owners to share parking to minimize the need for street parking, according to a Transportation Demand Management plan submitted with the application.
The project will be reviewed by the Planning Board during a public hearing on Jan. 13. If approved, work would begin in the spring and construction by Pike Cos. of Rochester would take about a year, according to the application.
The former Iroquois Door Co. building is located on 0.72 acres across Exchange from Alp Steel Corp., a couple of blocks from the Larkin at Exchange building and Larkin Square. It's currently used for warehousing and distribution by two textile companies.
Constructed in 1904, with updates between 1915 and 1925, and originally designed by architect Louise Blanchard Bethune for Iroquois Door, the building still features raised cut-stone foundations, large industrial windows and a brick facade that Park Grove calls "ideal for the look of the converted industrial lofts." It also includes old hardwood floors, three grade-level overhead doors and freight elevators, and a full basement.
The architect and developer previously said they plan to restore key features of the building, such as its historic vault and original walls, while mimicking the look of the windows with energy-efficient replacements.
This is the second development initiative in Buffalo for Park Grove, a 4-year-old development firm that has mostly focused on multifamily residential, mixed-use and commercial projects in the Rochester area.
The firm was started by real estate veterans Andrew Crossed and Andrew Bodewes – former partners of Conifer Realty. They left to form Park Grove in September 2015. Since then, its development and management projects have included apartments in Rochester, Elmira and Ithaca, and it's seeking to expand, with several development projects in upstate New York.
The firm entered the Buffalo market in 2018 when it won approval from the city for a 95-unit mixed-rate apartment building at 990 Niagara.