The new owner of a vacant lot on Linwood Avenue is proceeding with the prior owner's plans for a new three-story apartment building – but now he wants to ezpand the lower unit, so he has his own place to live.
That means Joseph Carubba has a scheduled collision with the Buffalo Planning Board first.
Carubba bought the quarter-acre site at 295 Linwood from Jesse Hawker last year, along with the architectural drawings that had been approved last August by the city's Planning Board, Preservation Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.
That proposal called for a 7,802-square-foot structure, with two one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments. The building's facade would feature white brick and fiber-cement panel, with a green preweathered copper roof and red stone base. A new driveway under one side of the 34-foot-tall building would lead to a paved rear area containing an eight-car garage.
Hawker already demolished a deteriorated former duplex on the site, before Carubba bought the land and plans.
Now the former owner of Carubba Collision wants to pursue Hawker's plan, but with a one-story addition in the rear of the first-floor apartment, for a master bedroom suite and an attached garage. That's where he plans to live.
Carubba, of Carubba & Company Development, intends to construct the building in accordance with the prior design plans, using the previously approved exterior windows, roofing, wall panels, brick, trim work and other elements, according to a letter to city Planning Director Nadine Marrero from architect John A. Lydon. The addition will use the same materials and finishes, he wrote.
The attached garage will mean he won't have to go outside to enter his unit. Carubba is also proposing to create an enclosed walkway at the south end of the property, where an open path was originally included.
Lydon added that they believe the addition, because it will be identical in appearance to the original approved building, should be considered a minor change that does not need a new public hearing before the full board, particularly since it's in back and not visible from the street. However, the board first has to rule on that question on Monday.
Last June, Carubba sold his well-known business, with 18 stores, to Illinois-based Gerber Collision and Glass, which is part of Boyd Group, a publicly traded company based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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The Planning Board will also hold a new public hearing on the revised $24 million plan for the Lawrence, a 129-unit market-rate apartment building that Symphony Management LLC wants to construct on the edge of the Fruit Belt, across Michigan Avenue from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The firm led by Timothy LeBoeuf originally proposed a five-story building with 131 units and 74 spaces of enclosed parking at 983-997 Michigan and 228-250 Maple St. But strident opposition from the neighborhood and activists throughout the city forced the developer to go back to the drawing board.
In the new version, Symphony reduced the height by one floor and 11 feet, while adding more glass and putting more of the parking underground. Plans by Stieglitz Snyder Architecture now call for a four-story building 44 feet high, fronting on both Michigan and Maple, and connected by a structural link in the middle. The 44,150-square-foot building would include a 78-space garage on the ground level and a mixture of 31 studio, 52 one-bedroom and 42 two-bedroom apartments on the four floors above.
The first floor would still have a fitness center and an office for the building manager, along with 29 apartments. Two lobbies – one along Michigan and the other on Maple, can be accessed from the ground level. There are also 28 bicycle spaces and a storage room in the basement.
The design uses utility bricks, glass stairwells, balconies, "simulated entrances," and "vertical" features to break up the facade's mass and appearance, particularly along Maple within the historic residential neighborhood. And the developer plans to secure about 60 additional off-site parking spaces within 500 feet of the project, according to a transportation demand management study included with the application.
"The applicants believe that the significant changes in the proposed design are responsive to public concerns about the scale of the project and mitigate potential impacts to the greatest extent practicable," attorney Marc Romanowski wrote in a letter to the Planning and Zoning boards.
The planned use is allowed by the Green Code, but the project will require variances for building height, lot width and coverage, and side and rear setbacks. However, Romanowski argued that the requests will not constitute "an undesirable change" and will not harm the "physical or environmental conditions" in the Fruit Belt. And they're needed to make the project feasible and viable, given the need for density because of the soaring land values near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
"The project is on a challenging site to say the least," Romanowski wrote, citing the irregular shape of the 1.013-acre property, with part of it fronting Michigan and the other fronting Maple, with different requirements on each street. "The applicants have gone to great lengths to redesign the project to minimize adverse impacts on the character of the neighborhood."
If approved, construction would take about 20 months, according to the application.
Story topics: Buffalo Planning Board/ Buffalo Zoning Board of Appeals/ fruit belt/ Green Code/ jonathan d. epstein/ Stieglitz Snyder/ Symphony Management/ Symphony Property Management/ The Lawrence/ Timothy LeBoeuf/ variance